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Leaving Matters: The Nature, Evolution And Effects Of Emigration Policies

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Executive Summary

Debates on migration policies are strongly focused on immigration control, revealing a general receiving-country bias in migration research. To fill this gap, this paper reviews the nature, evolution and effects of emigration policies. Only a declining number of strong, authoritarian states with closed economies are willing and capable of imposing blanket exit restrictions. Paradoxically, while an increasing number of, particularly developing, countries aspire to regulate emigration, their capability to do so is fundamentally and increasingly limited by legal, economic and political constraints. The attitude of states is often intrinsically ambiguous, as they face a complex trade-off between the perceived economic and political costs and benefits of emigration, in which who leaves greatly matters.

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