Throughout the Arabian Gulf, the immigration law known as the kafala formally delegates to firms and other “sponsors” control over migrants’ mobility, housing, and general welfare. These states have abdicated almost any responsibility over migrants, giving firms nearly unchecked power over their workers’ daily lives. In this paper, I consider the welfare implications of this system and explore the conditions under which migrants can extract concessions from firms. Drawing on a nationally representative survey from Qatar, I show that migrant satisfaction, workplace difficulties, and overall quality of life varies widely across camps and firms. In explaining this variation, I argue that welfare crucially depends on an individual’s bargaining power. Migrants with a contract or credible exit options hold greater bargaining power, which strongly associates with improved perceptions of welfare. All told, contracts and exit options appear to provide even the most vulnerable workers a means of protection within authoritarian states.
Studies in Comparative International Development – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 15, 2016
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud