The Narrowing-Down of the OEEC/OECD Migration Functions, 1947–1986


Author(s)Emmanuel Comte, Simone Paoli, Emmanuel Comte

TitleThe Narrowing-Down of the OEEC/OECD Migration Functions, 1947–1986

Editor of the bookMatthieu Leimgruber, Matthias Schmelzer

Title of the bookThe OECD and the International Political Economy Since 1948

City of the publisherLondon

PublisherPalgrave Macmillan




This chapter explains how Western European states determined the migration functions of the organisation. In the early years of the Cold War, the United States attempted to use the OEEC to open up the migration regime in Western Europe. However the OEEC included too many poor emigration countries to develop an open migration regime. Given immigration states’ reluctance to more ambitious projects, the organisation served mainly as a forum of weak coordination of immigration practices. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the shift from liberal to restrictive migration policies appeared to open a window of opportunity for the OECD. Emigration countries, supported by the OECD Secretariat, tried to develop cooperation so as to redistribute the costs of those policies. However, disagreements within its heterogeneous membership and competition from other international organisations undermined the OECD’s position. The organisation found itself in the mid-1980s assuming migration functions only at the level of information.

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