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Sara Kalm

Sara Kalm

Director of Third Cycle Studies | Associate Professor | Senior Lecturer | Qualified Teaching Practitioner

Sara Kalm

Social Policy and Migration Policy in the Long Nineteenth Century


  • Sara Kalm
  • Johannes Lindvall

Summary, in English

The relationship between international migration and the welfare state is a hotly contested topic: some scholars argue that migration will, in the long run, erode support for the welfare state; others argue that the welfare state has inherent qualities that insulate it from such erosion. We place this debate in historical perspective by exploring the period when the latent tension between cross-border mobility and locally or nationally defined social rights first emerged. Specifically, we investigate the relationship between national social policy ambitions and migration controls in two periods: 1830–1890 (an era of pre-welfare-state social policy mainly structured around locally based poor relief) and 1890–1914 (the period when the social-insurance welfare state began spread, starting in Germany in the previous decade). The puzzle that motivates our paper is that barriers to movement were abolished in Europe precisely when the state began to define itself as a nation state and increased its capacity to take on greater social responsibilities for its citizens. We investigate whether higher social-welfare efforts resulted in the introduction or strengthening of internal exclusions (reduced rights for immigrants). We also investigate the relationship between social-welfare effort and external exclusions (barriers to entry). We rely on a migration-policy data set that was developed by Peters (2015), which we have expanded to include 18 countries in Europe and the Americas for which data on poor relief (the early part of the period) and the introduction of social insurances (the later part of the period) are available; we have also complemented Peters’s data with additional information about specific migration-policy instruments.


  • Department of Political Science

Publishing year





STANCE Working Paper Series





Document type

Working paper


Department of Political Science, Lund University


  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


  • migration
  • welfare state
  • cross-border mobility
  • social rights
  • social policy
  • migration control
  • 1830-1890
  • poor relief
  • 1890-1914
  • social-welfare efforts
  • internal exclusions
  • external exclusions
  • migration policy data set
  • social insurance
  • Europe
  • Americas




  • State-Making and the Origins of Global Order in the Long Nineteenth Century and Beyond
  • Lund Human Rights Research Hub