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Migrants for Export: How the Philippine State Brokers Labor to the World




Robyn Magalit Rodriguez


How the Philippines transformed itself into the world’s leading labor brokerage state

Robyn Magalit Rodriguez investigates how and why the Philippine government transformed itself into what she calls a labor brokerage state, which actively prepares, mobilizes, and regulates its citizens for migrant work abroad. Drawing on ethnographic research of the Philippine government’s migration bureaucracy, interviews, and archival work, Rodriguez presents a new analysis of neoliberal globalization and its consequences for nation-state formation.

Focusing on the state as organizer of migrations makes legible a reality that often remains veiled in the more common attention on migrants and their households. Robyn Magalit Rodriguez shows us the strong articulation of a business and a political logic in the Philippino state’s organized export of workers. Maintaining the loyalty of its annual average million plus exported workers becomes critical for the state’s business side of these exports. Through her study of the extreme case that is the Philippines, Rodriguez makes a major contribution to our understanding of a range of small and big puzzles in the migration literature.

—Saskia Sassen, author of Territory, Authority, Rights

Number of pages


Place published

United States


University of Minnesota Press

File Attachments

Content types

Policy analysis and Current Policy

Target groups

Public awareness

Geographical focuses

Philippines and Global relevance