Global Platform of International Public Policies
Governança migratória

Migration governance in South America

The bottom-up diffusion of the Residence Agreement of Mercosur

Adriana Montenegro Braz


This article offers a complementary explanation to the diffusion theory that focuses on the process of governance emergence from a top-down perspective. This complementary explanation analyzes the bottom-up processes of diffusion and tested them by studying the policy formulation process in the Mercosur Residence Agreement (RA) signed in 2002. Based on interviews with key actors, documents, and academic literature, this article concludes that the RA was mainly the result of Brazilian and Argentinian negotiations. Brazil needed to boost regional cooperation after the Mercosur crisis, and considered that a joint migration amnesty could have a positive impact on the trading bloc’s image. However, the Argentinian experience in migration issues allowed for a more coherent policy on the matter. Therefore, I maintain that the mode of interaction in the Residence Agreement negotiations was a bottom up diffusion process that allowed the regionalization of domestic policies.


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Fernando Macedo

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