Introduction: Economics and Interdisciplinary Approaches in Migration Research

C. Boswell, P. R. Mueser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This special issue explores options for the better integration of economics into interdisciplinary research on migration. Papers include work by economists and other social scientists, showcasing both the extension of economic models to incorporate concepts from other disciplines, as well as work in sociology and political science that draws on economics. Of particular interest are models of networks, social capital and cumulative causation, as well as analyses using the rational actor model outside of economics. We conclude that, while there are substantial benefits to interdisciplinary cooperation, economists tend to resist full integration, preferring to incorporate insights and concepts from other social sciences without revising their core theoretical tenets, especially the commitment to utility-maximising agents. Nonetheless, dialogue between the disciplines can encourage researchers to clarify and refine their chosen research approach. Moreover, the co-existence of diverse approaches to social explanation produces a far richer and more variegated body of knowledge on migration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-529
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


  • Migration
  • Economics of Migration
  • Interdisciplinary Research
  • Migrant Networks


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