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Labour Migration Under Market Conditions (An Analysis of the WNIS-EU Context)

Author: Ted Lundgren
Degree:doctor of economics
Speciality: 08.00.14 - World Economy; International Economic Relations
Scientific adviser: Petru Roşca
doctor habilitat, professor, Free International University of Moldova
Scientific consultant: Alexandru Braila
doctor, associate professor (docent)
Institution: Free International University of Moldova
Scientific council: DH 34-08.00.14-18.09.08
Free International University of Moldova


The thesis was presented on the 26 November, 2009
Approved by NCAA on the 18 March, 2010


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The contemporary debate on international migration contains several issues that could be considered as “hot potatoes”, both in academic corridors and in real-life policy making. In the European Union, fears of mass labour immigration from the ex-Soviet Union have abounded ever since the fall of the ‘iron curtain’ and have contributed to the development of an arsenal of restrictive policy instruments. In the context of migration from the Western Newly Independent States – Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova – to the EU15 countries, the thesis finds that during most of transition, migrant flows have indeed been of labour character, and have responded rather well to the theoretical framework of neoclassical migration economics. However, the EU’s fears of mass immigration from their eastern neighbours are unfounded. In particular, this is true with respect to one of the hottest potatoes in the current debate - that of a migration hump. By means of descriptive statistics and a panel data regression, the thesis finds that for the given context, there is no evidence for such a hump. In fact, it would be in the best interest of immigration restrictive EU15 economies to address, to a higher degree, the so-called root causes of migration, which are thought to underlie migration humps. The thesis includes: introduction, three chapters, conclusions and recommendations, bibliography, glossary, key words, annotations, and appendices.

The second half of the thesis is devoted to the phenomenon of irregular migration through and from the WNIS to the EU-15. By means of mathematical modelling, four cases, hitherto virtually untouched by economic research, are considered. First, the topic of whom (a people smuggler, an illegal migrant, or both of them), and how a migrant receiving country’s government should punish, is explored. The analysis assumes a von Neumann-Morgenstern framework and a setting of almost-free competition. Second, a theoretical approach addresses the very act of illicit state border crossings, in the context of a game of pursuit and evasion. Third, a duopoly case of people smuggling is considered in a model of two competing syndicates operating in a deterministic as well as stochastic setting. The final model addresses the problem of optimal research allocation under corruption within some border guard authority.

The models, as well as regression results, can be used by policy makers in the EU as well as in the WNIS, and may serve as a foundation for further scientific development.