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The normative foundations of 'policy implications': Reflections on international labour migration

By David Bartram


This article will appear in 'Work, employment and Society', [2010]Sociologists, when offering suggestions for policy arising from their empirical research, typically do not provide explicit reflection on the values or interests such policy implications are meant to advance. This paper illustrates why such reflection can be important, by showing how different normative assumptions lead to different policy suggestions concerning international labour migration. In a conventional neo-classical economics view, labour migration brings obvious gains to the migrants themselves; ‘revealed preferences’ is sufficient to know that such gains exist. In a ‘happiness studies’ perspective, however, those benefits are not nearly as obvious, and a discussion of implications for labour migration policy might come to quite different conclusions. In general, the quality of one’s suggestions for policy implications is likely to be enhanced via greater awareness of the normative positions embedded in such views

Topics: Immigration, Normative assumptions, Policy implications
Publisher: SAGE
Year: 2010
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