The International Movement of People: the Fourth Economic Freedom

by Michael Trebilcock (University of Toronto)

Working Papers WP 18-05
October 2018
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

Full text: pdf

The so-called four economic freedoms: cross-border movement of goods, crossborder movement of services, cross-border movement of capital, and cross-border movement of people are often viewed as central to the European integration enterprise, and reflect more broadly international trends towards economic integration (or globalization) in the post-war period. However, outside the EU, this process has been much more incremental, with much more fully developed international disciplines on cross-border movement of goods than cross-border movement of services, capital and people. While the economic case for the four economic freedoms rests on a single premise, i.e., that with fewer restrictions on the cross-border movement of goods, services, capital and people, resources will gravitate, over time to their most productive uses, hence increasing global economic output and global welfare, the conditions and qualifications attaching to this premise differ significantly, from one freedom to another. This paper focusses on the fourth economic freedom.     

Keywords: migration, values, interests, institutions, costs and benefits, policy options

Michael J. Trebilcock is a University Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, formerly Professor of Law and Economics, and co-author (with Ninette Kelly) of The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy (2nd edition, 2010); co-author (with Robert Howse and Antonia Eliason) of The Regulation of International Trade (4th edition, 2013); author of Advanced Introduction to International Trade Law (2015); co-author (with Mariana Prado) of Advance Introduction to Law and Development (2014); and the author of Dealing with Losers: The Political Economy of Policy Transitions (2014).
Contact:  michael.trebilcock(at)utoronto.ca