The Openness-Rights Trade-off in Labour Migration, Claims to Membership, and Justice

Christopher Bertram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
374 Downloads (Pure)


This paper looks at a recent challenge to the liberal inclusivist view that everyone on the state’s territory should have a path to citizenship. Economists have argued that giving immigrants an inferior legal status would persuade wealthy countries to admit more, with beneficial consequences for global justice. Whilst this tradeoff might seem appealing from the impersonal perspective of the policymaker it generates incoherence from the perpective of the collective of democratic citizens, since it requires them to treat their own unjust attitudes as an objective constraint. The paper also rejects the idea that a voluntary choice to migrate can be taken as consent to an inferior status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283–296
Number of pages14
JournalEthical Theory and Moral Practice
Issue number2
Early online date22 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2019

Structured keywords

  • Migration Mobilities Bristol


  • migration
  • Labour migration
  • temporary labour migration
  • membership
  • citizenship
  • rights
  • democracy
  • justice
  • distributive justice
  • global justice
  • economics

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