Book: Martin Ruhs (2013) The Price of Rights: Regulating International Labor Migration


The Price of Rights:
Regulating International Labor Migration
Martin Ruhs

Cloth | 2013 | $35.00 / £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691132914
272 pp. | 6 x 9 | 13 line illus. 16 tables.

eBook | ISBN: 9781400848607 | Where to buy this ebook

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Many low-income countries and development organizations are calling for greater liberalization of labor immigration policies in high-income countries. At the same time, human rights organizations and migrant rights advocates demand more equal rights for migrant workers. The Price of Rights shows why you cannot always have both.Examining labor immigration policies in over forty countries, as well as policy drivers in major migrant-receiving and migrant-sending states, Martin Ruhs finds that there are trade-offs in the policies of high-income countries between openness to admitting migrant workers and some of the rights granted to migrants after admission. Insisting on greater equality of rights for migrant workers can come at the price of more restrictive admission policies, especially for lower-skilled workers. Ruhs advocates the liberalization of international labor migration through temporary migration programs that protect a universal set of core rights and account for the interests of nation-states by restricting a few specific rights that create net costs for receiving countries.The Price of Rights analyzes how high-income countries restrict the rights of migrant workers as part of their labor immigration policies and discusses the implications for global debates about regulating labor migration and protecting migrants. It comprehensively looks at the tensions between human rights and citizenship rights, the agency and interests of migrants and states, and the determinants and ethics of labor immigration policy.Martin Ruhs is university lecturer in political economy at the University of Oxford, where he is also director of studies in economics at the Department for Continuing Education; senior researcher at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society; and a fellow of Kellogg College.


“To what extent should countries encourage immigration? What rights should be conferred on immigrants, especially temporary ones? Ruhs emphasizes the uncomfortable tradeoffs built into every answer to those questions.”–Richard Cooper, Foreign Affairs, US

“Ruhs’s work is an excellent reality check for idealism within the immigrant advocacy community and a solid discussion on the rights of migrants and the trade-offs of policy decisions. It’d be a good addition to a graduate or higher-level undergraduate migration course reading list, or to the bookshelf of an academically minded policy maker.”–Amy Grenier, Migrationist, US

“Supporters of the rights of migrants can and should read this book with a proper sense of gratitude that such a thoughtful piece of work which critically assesses exactly what we are trying to achieve has been written.”–Don Flynn, Migrant Rights Network, UK

“We may argue with the detail of Ruhs’s prescriptions for expanding labour migration schemes for low-skilled workers, but the substance of his ethical argument is not easily dismissed. To shut down labour migration–even in the name of protecting migrants’ rights–is to deny opportunity to potential migrant workers, and to condemn them to living in the state of poverty they seek to overcome.”–Peter Mares, Inside Story, Australia

“This is an academic book, but very accessible, and I think it is an important one for anybody interested in the migration debate to read.”–Diane Coyle, Enlightenment Economics


“In this excellent book, Martin Ruhs presents a fresh analysis of the reasons why many countries, whether they be high or low income, restrict the rights of migrant workers. His carefully researched volume will be of great interest to policymakers and migration experts across the globe.”–Frank Laczko, International Organization for Migration

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For customers in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia
Cloth: $35.00 ISBN: 9780691132914
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Cloth: £24.95 ISBN: 9780691132914
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