Date of Award

Winter 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Studies

Committee Director

Kurt Taylor Gaubatz

Committee Member

David Earnest

Committee Member

Xiushi Yang


This dissertation challenges prevailing assumptions of a strong connection between international migration and regional integration by arguing there is no substantial relationship between them and that these issues should not be conflated. International migration and regional integration are extraordinarily important forces shaping the current international system and the recent wave of globalization has brought with it a new level of fear and uncertainty surrounding these critical issues. Migration and integration are highly contentious and divisive subjects in and of themselves, but the relationship between them is largely misunderstood and tends to skew toward panicked hyperbole by publics and policymakers alike.

In an effort to address this gap in our understanding, this dissertation investigates the relationship between international migration and regional integration to determine if there is a causal link and, if so, the direction of causality. I use two major research strategies to investigate the relationship: (1) a quantitative analysis of country-level data including an objective measure of regional integration developed for this study and (2) two detailed case studies of the North American and European experiences in addition to a broad overview of the migration-integration relationship in other regions. The quantitative and case study analyses support my hypothesis that there is no substantial relationship between international migration and regional integration. In this perspective, states can consider the benefits of regional integration policies without worrying about migration and can consider migration policies without concern for integration.