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Anna-Christine Goerg

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Discipline: Political Science

Degrees BA: History, Political Science, Sociology


European Studies

PhD Research Information

Open Borders for Low Skilled Labor Migrants
A QCA-Study on the Determinants of Decision Processes in Migration Policy

Brief description:

Low-skilled labor immigration into the low wage sector is the most controversial form of immigration in Western democracies – and often the most limited. But despite recurrent, heated public debates about ‘economic refugees’, governments repeatedly opt for entry and work opportunities such as guest workers or seasonal workers programs, that are geared towards precisely this group of migrants. Even though the institutional, economic and cultural contexts in which politicians opt for this supposedly undesirable form of immigration are usually quite different, the result is often the same.

So far, migration policy theory cannot explain why the same outcome is achieved despite the variance of contextual conditions. The current academic debate on migration policy decision processes stresses differing institutional, interest-based, and political-cultural aspects. However, it is unclear where the priorities lie in this policy area, which spheres are influential, and which are not. This research project aims to close this gap by examining the different sets of determinants using a Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). To this end, corresponding acts of the OECD countries will be examined in the time period 2008 – 2017, based on institutional, interest-based and political-cultural conditions.
The results of this study will contribute to the theoretical debate on change in migration policy and help understand the conditions that lead countries of destination to decide to open their borders to low-skilled workers, thus prioritizing freedom of movement over the protection of their own low-skilled citizens.


Keywords: democracy, migration policies, Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)

Language(s) of writing: English

Country: Germany

Home University:

Europan University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)


Chair for Europan and International Politics

Supervisor: Jürgen Neyer
Start date: 01-09-2017
PhD current status: PhD Defended
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Added to catalogue on: 26-10-2018

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