Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program

Political Science


English (en)

Date of Award

January 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Andrew Sobel


Points systems, immigration policies in which potential immigrants make an application to enter the country and then are selected on the basis of their skills, age, and occupation, have been proven to be more successful attracting high-skilled immigrants, but very few countries have implemented them. This is particularly paradoxical since high-skilled immigrants are more beneficial in fiscal terms: they are expected to pay more taxes than low skilled immgirants, and not depend heavily on government provided welfare. My core argument is that left of center governments in liberal welfare states implement points systems during a fiscal crisis as a mean of raising revenue for the state, staving off painful cuts in government spending. Using statistical modeling, I study the timing of the implementation of selective immigration policies. I find that the presence of a liberal welfare state, a left of center government, and a fiscal crisis at the same time, make the implementation of these reforms more likely, while individually, each of this variables cannot explain the timing of the implementation of these policies. My dissertation also includes qualitative case studies on the development of immigration policy in different types of welfare states, where I focus on the political and economic environments in which immigration policies were implemented in different countries accross history, particularly selective immigration policies. This project turns some of the literature on globalization and domestic politics on its head. Rather than examining how globalization constrains the nation-state, globalization, in terms of immigration, can help solve domestic problems. This has implications for the study of the political economy of immigration, and can help provide insights into broader discussions on globalization and the state.


Permanent URL: