The rise of bilateral labor agreements


In a new paper, Adam Chilton and I explore the exotic world of bilateral labor agreements. You can find the paper here. Abstract below.

Countries have entered several hundred bilateral labor agreements (BLAs), which control the conditions under which source countries send migrant workers to host countries. Using an original data set of 582 BLAs extending from 1945 to 2015, we conduct the first statistical examination of these agreements. We find that the standard explanation for BLAs—that they are entered into by countries with large differences in wealth and political regimes—is true for host countries are Middle Eastern, but this pattern reverses for other countries that have formed BLAs. We also find that countries that enter BLAs experience greater migration flows, though we are not able to verify that the BLAs cause these increases.