Forces of diffusion: what drives the transfer of immigration policy and law across jurisdictions?

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In this paper, I examine the forces which drive the transfer of immigration policies across jurisdictions. In Part I, I survey the legal scholarship on legal transplants, public policy scholarship on policy transfer and international relations scholarship on diffusion to identify three common motivations for transfers that can operate in any area of law or policy: efficiency, prestige and coercion. In Part II, I explore two additional forces that operate in policy fields such as immigration, where there is interdependence between the policy decisions of governments: cooperation and competition. Drawing parallels with regulatory theory, I argue that transfers of immigration policy can be driven by cooperative and competitive interdependence. I conclude by arguing that identifying the forces driving a particular instance of transfer can provide a framework for critically evaluating both the process and outcomes of the transfer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-153
Number of pages15
JournalInternational journal of migration and border studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • legal transplants
  • diffusion
  • policy transfer
  • learning
  • migration
  • immigration
  • motivations
  • forces
  • competition
  • cooperation


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