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23–25 September 2014 Wolfson College, University of Oxford

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The roots are here, but the work is there’ – Indigenous migration in an Era of Neoliberal Globalisation

Magdalena Arias Cubas (University of Sydney)

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The migratory system between Mexico and the United States (US) has a long history, however its magnitude and composition has changed significantly in recent decades. Similarly, while Mexicans have migrated as farmworkers for decades, increased border enforcement has made it more difficult and costly for new migrants to cross the border. In this context, more farmworkers now come from Mexico’s less prosperous south, which is home to a large percentage of its Indigenous population. While increasing rates of Indigenous migration are part of wider transformations in Mexico and the US, Indigenous social reproduction has become intrinsically linked to particular forms of mobility and emigration. In particular, ‘low-skilled’ and ‘irregular’ migration has emerged as a growing phenomenon influencing and reshaping Indigenous communities.

This paper will analyse the phenomenon of Indigenous migration in the era of neoliberal globalisation using a social transformation framework. This paper has two objectives: (i) to situate Indigenous migration as part of wider transformations occurring in the context of neo-liberal globalisation; and (ii) to uncover the developmental potential of migration for Indigenous migrants given the conditions under which migration currently takes place. In particular, this paper will analyse the impact of interrelated social, economic and political phenomena on the well-being of Indigenous migrants and their relatives in communities of origin and destination. These phenomena include: neoliberal reforms implemented in Mexico, the securitization of the U.S. border, and the development of Indigenous migrant organisations. This paper will reflect on the initial findings of my PhD project within the larger ARC-funded ‘Social Transformation and International Migration in the 21st Century’ research project. This includes fieldwork conducted with Indigenous farmworkers in California and with returned migrants or migrants’ relatives in Oaxaca.


Broadcasting migration outcomes

Oliver Bakewell, and Dominique Jolivet (University of Oxford)

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This paper is based on the findings of the THEMIS project that explores how the migration of people at one point in time affects subsequent patterns of migration to the same area. It focuses on the feedback processes: the social mechanisms that link migration experiences across time and space. Drawing on data from the THEMIS origin and destination datasets, this paper looks at the role of migration narratives disseminated through publicly visible examples – broadcast media and the internet – in shaping attitudes to migration, aspirations and decision making. In the case of Ukrainians moving to Portugal in the early 2000s, the scale of the movement rapidly became a subject of public debate, ensuring that stories about migrants were seen in newspapers and television and heard on the radio. As a result the impact of earlier migration was seen far beyond social networks. Likewise, a Brazilian soap opera that ran a story line with Brazilians studying in the Netherlands increased the profile of the Netherlands as a potential destination country from Brazil. The news of the economic crisis in Europe and its impact on the employment prospects for migrants has also been widely disseminated in origin countries, changing people’s imaginations of Europe and their interest in migration. This paper shows how this type of social mechanism stands apart from the idea of normative pressure or influence carried through social networks: it is a more nuanced mechanism, which may become normative only when it creates new conditions in which migration (or the rejection of migration) is broadly perceived as a social requirement.

The “Migration, Livelihoods and Development” Nexus: Evidences from the Brazilian Amazon

Alisson Flávio Barbieri, Gilvan Ramalho Guedes and Reinaldo Onofre dos Santos

Contemporary population mobility has shown complex patterns even in remote areas of developing countries. For instance, internal and international migration and circulation in the Brazilian Amazon have been affected by a diversity of factors such as globalization, expansion of international market-oriented activities, infrastructure building, and migration networks. While “traditional” approaches such as the neoclassical economics and historical structuralism have advanced explanations for determinants and consequences of such movements, we discuss how population mobility into, within, and from the Amazonia over time may be explained by the changing demographic composition, their access and diversification of sources of income, welfare and livelihoods, as well as development stages of frontier settlements. We review the extant literature to inform an empirical analysis for the municipality of Machadinho, in the Southern Brazilian Amazon. The data is from a unique panel of plots and their related households based on field surveys carried out in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1995 and 2010. The methodology consists of the integration of these datasets through GIS (Geographical Information System), descriptive analysis, and the identification of profiles of livelihoods, household lifecycles, and population mobility using latent class models. Finally we discuss how the results suggest the need of a theoretical framework to better understand how distinct mobility strategies in rural frontier settings reflect temporal contingencies related to stages of frontier development.


Immigration policies and migrant entry channels: a theoretical and empirical investigation

Alessio Cangiano (The University of the South Pacific, Fiji)

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The role, effectiveness and outcomes of immigration policies have attracted increasing attention in the recent migration literature. However, existing studies have only partially explored how immigration policies contribute to shaping the compositional breakdown by channels of entry of migration flows and the settlement and re-migration patterns of different categories of migrants. This is partly ascribable to conceptual challenges, e.g. the difficulty to analyse within an integrated framework distinct and often uncoordinated policy strands for the governance of labour, family, humanitarian and other types of flows. Yet, empirical gaps are also prominent, e.g. European data sources that keep track of the immigration status on entry and enable a comparison of migratory patterns vis-à-vis immigration regulations are rare.

This paper attempts to address these knowledge gaps. It begins by providing a conceptual basis for understanding how immigration policies influence the composition of in- and out-migration flows, resulting in category-specific patterns of settlement for migrants entering via different immigration routes. The role of selectivity mechanisms (e.g. operating in points-based systems, demand-driven labour admissions and pre-entry ‘integration’ requirements) and of different sets of economic and social rights granted to migrants admitted via different immigration routes is highlighted. In the second part of the paper this framework is used as a lens for a comparative analysis based on the 2008 Ad-Hoc Module on migrant workers of the EU Labour Force Survey and looking at: i) the changing composition of the migrant population by immigration status on arrival over time and across countries of destination, and ii) the patterns of settlement of different categories of migrants (operationalized on the basis of the household composition and the acquisition of citizenship). This is supplemented by a review of recently released national data on re-migration by previous main reason for immigration. A final discussion reflects upon the links between openness of the admission system, states ability to control different types of migration flows and the degree of temporariness/permanency.

The role of aspirations in migration

Jørgen Carling (Peace Research Institute Oslo - PRIO)

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This conceptual paper seeks to engage with migration theory by examining the nature and functions of aspirations in migration processes. I argue that aspirations play a pivotal role in all migration, but in different ways. Aspirations are elusive, however, both theoretically and empirically. People’s general aspirations in life form part of form part of the background to migration desires; such desires can also be described as migration aspirations, which are the focus of this paper. This conviction that migration is preferable to staying can be understood as an attitude, which helps us raise several epistemological issues. Is the desire to migrate an enduring state of mind, or a context-specific speech act? Do migration aspirations, conceived of as attitudes, comparatively evaluate places, or culturally constructed projects? Does migration have intrinsic value, or is it simply a means to an end? Addressing such questions and relating them to the factors that inhibit or facilitate actual migration can shed new light on how we conceptualize and empirically analyse the determinants of migration. It can also help understand the relationships between force, choice and mobility. In conclusion, I propose an aspirations-centred model of migration, in which observable outcomes—in the form of mobility and immobility—are interpreted as products of three interlinked processes.

Deflection into irregularity? The (un)intended effects of restrictive asylum and visa policies

Mathias Czaika and Mogens Hobolth (University of Oxford)

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Recent research into the impact of restrictive immigration and asylum policies has found a considerable deterrence effect reducing the number of persons claiming asylum, that is as rules and procedures are tightened fewer applications are received. However, restrictive asylum policy might also push potential and rejected applicants into an irregular status. This paper investigates to what extent the deterrence effect of asylum policy is counterbalanced by such a ‘deflection into irregularity’. We analyse this question drawing on a new large dyadic dataset detailing asylum and visa policy as well as forced and irregular migrant flows to 29 European states in the period 2001 to 2011.We find that restrictive asylum policy does, as expected, reduce the number of persons claiming protection. But there is also a significant deflection dynamic at work. Our estimates suggest that a ten percent increase in asylum rejections raises the number of (apprehended) irregular migrants by on average about three percent, and similarly, a ten percent increase in short-stay visa rejections leading to a five percent increase in irregular migration.


The determinants of international migration: a theoretical and empirical assessment of policy, origin, and destination effects

Hein de Haas (University of Oxford)

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Keynote Day 1: The role of states and policies in migration processes


The Impact of land Policies on International Migration and Transnational Practices: The Case of the Brasiguaios

Marcos Estrada(University of Warwick)

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The article presents an analysis of the role of ‘national’ land policies in the mass immigration of Brazilians to Paraguay. It also examines the creation of transnational practices and the formation of Brasiguaio identity. Immigration from Brazil to Paraguay was influenced by the Brazilian and Paraguayan national land policies of the 1960s and 1970s. Yet changes in these policies stimulated a reverse migration. Findings from research conducted in the landless camp Antônio Irmão-Brasiguaios (Brazil) demonstrate that these immigrants and their descendants have developed transnational practices in navigating their lives upon the Brazilian-Paraguayan border. These practices have, in turn, shaped the identities of present-day Brasiguaios as a transnational group.

Selective Implementation: Institutional Constraints to the Success of Migration Policies

Tobias G. Eule(University of Bern)

This paper looks at two factors that shape the success of migration policies in managing migration that are often overlooked: institutional constraints within the state bureaucracy and local political interventions into the implementation of migration policies. This is based on ongoing empirical ethnographic research conducted in German immigration offices, as well as a just started comparative research project on the facilitation of post-border migration control in Germany, Switzerland, France and Sweden. Previous studies suggest that effectiveness of migration policies are determined by both the relative autonomy of migrants in avoiding state control, and by the extent to which migration policies are “destined” to fail and state authorities tolerate uncontrolled or irregular migration flows. This paper will add a perspective from “inside the black box” of migration management to this debate. It will show how in Germany, attempts to attract highly-skilled migrants as well as debates on the forced removal of irregular migrants are shaped by local political interventions and institutional constraints as much as national law. This results in high levels of variation between different local settings, and thus helps to shape a very uneven intranational flow of immigration.


Refining the Political Sociology of International Migration: Mechanisms of Policy Diffusion

David Scott FitzGerald (University of California, San Diego)

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Scholars of international migration increasingly analyze the role of states in shaping migration flows and the determinants of those state policies. However, explaining policies simply by examining processes within a particular country (e.g. Tichenor 2002), or comparing policies in different countries without examining their influences on each other (e.g. Brubaker 1992), would miss the essential role played by “policy convergence” (Busch and Jörgens 2005), “transfer” (Dolowitz and Marsh 2000), and “diffusion” (Dobbin et al. 2007). Institutionalist scholars seek to understand the mobility of policies across national and organizational units. Despite advances in understanding these processes, fundamental questions remain about the mechanisms and conditions under which they operate and the relative causal weight of diffusion as an explanation for policy variation (Chorev 2012). This paper draws on an analysis of ethnic selection in immigration and nationality laws in 22 countries in the Western Hemisphere from 1790-2010, as well as on country and international organization case studies, to make three major contributions to a political sociology of immigration policy diffusion. First, the construction of an immigration policy database of unprecedented temporal and geographic scope is combined with in-depth archival work. This methodology reveals broad patterns of policy diffusion and a fine-grained assessment of the strength of distinct mechanisms of diffusion relative to each other. Second, it show cycles of interaction between external influences on policies and processes that were internal to the nation-state, rather than privileging a priori the importance of either diffusion or internal factors. In doing so, it establishes the foreign policy conditions under which diffusion tends to be more consequential for policy making. Third, by analyzing power asymmetries as an axis that cuts across all mechanisms of diffusion, it identifies a little-known mechanism of effective policy leverage by weaker states and establishes the conditions under which this mechanism is most likely to operate.

The influence of migration policies in Europe on return migration to Senegal

Marie-Laurence Flahaux (University of Oxford)

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Over the past decade, return migration has generated increasing policy and public attention. It is often believed that African migrants travel to destination countries and generally do not return home. Policy makers in European countries have adopted policies designed to encourage or force African migrants to return. European countries have also designed policies intended to control access and stay of migrants in their territory. These policies have become increasingly restrictive over time towards most categories of African migrants, and they are sometimes invoked to explain the reluctance of migrants to return, since they prevent circulation.

Due to the lack of data however, the influence of the different migration policies on return migration remains poorly understood. This paper aims to fill this gap by analysing transnational and biographical data of the Migration between Africa and Europe (MAFE) surveys as well as data of the DEMIG POLICY and DEMIG VISA databases[1], which cover major changes in migration policies across a large range of destination countries. I implement event history logistic regressions to study the effect of migration policies on the return of Senegalese who migrated to France, Italy and Spain between 1960 and 2008. The results reveal that the policies aiming at controlling the stay and encouraging or forcing the return of migrants do not significantly affect return, but that Senegalese migrants are less likely to return when the entry restrictions have become important. This suggests that barriers intended to reduce the flow of African migrants actually prevent those who are already in Europe from returning. The results show that the preoccupation of migrants is not only the return, but also the possibility of a new migration after the return.

The Importance of Access Policies in South-South Migration: Ecuador's Policy of Open Doors as a Natural Experiment

Luisa Feline Freier (London School of Economics and Political Science)

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South-south flows make up almost half of all emigration from developing countries and roughly a third of international migration worldwide. Nevertheless, international migration theory has focused on explaining south-north migration and has left the dynamics of south-south flows largely unexplored. This paper argues that one key to understanding intercontinental south-south migration is the interplay of immigration policies, and more specifically of access policies, of northern and southern countries. Some migrants from developing countries, who face severe restrictions to reach their preferred destinations in the north, move to accessible destinations in southern regions, either because this opens up opportunities for onward migration to northern countries, or because these countries are relatively attractive in their own right. This paper examines Ecuador’s extreme visa policy liberalization of 2008 as a natural experiment to test the impact of the de facto opening of borders of a Latin American country on south-south migration from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Complementary qualitative findings throw light on the characteristics and motivations of recent extra-continental immigrants in Ecuador.


Discovering diverse paths, linking fragmented ideas: An empirical approach to integrating migration theories

Filiz Garip (Harvard University)

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Keynote Day 3: New theoretical and methodological avenues in migration research

Determinants of International Migration: Evidence from US DV Lottery

Keshar M Ghimire (Temple University, Philadelphia)

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International migration is conceptualized as a two stage process. In the first stage agents form willingness to migrate on the basis of expected gain or loss from the move and in the second stage actual migration occurs conditional on agents' ability to overcome the relevant cost and policy constraints. The framework is then used to estimate the impact of a number of potential determinants of international migration on 'national willingness to emigrate' by using data from an 'experimental set up' provided by US Diversity Visa Lottery. A dynamic panel data model is specified and robust Arellano-Bond GMM estimators are calculated. Results indicate a strong influence of political and civil liberties along with per capita GDP in people's willingness to migrate.


Measuring Immigration Policies: The IMPIC Database

Marc Helbling, Liv Bjerre, Friederike Römer and Malisa Zobel (WZB Berlin Social Science Center)

Despite a growing interest in migration questions, it is still not possible to systematically analyse immigration policies across time and a large number of countries. Most studies in this field
have heretofore focused on individual cases. Recently, there have been a series of studies that have proposed policy indices that allow for large-N analyses. It appears, however, that these studies have not always adequately addressed the main challenges of index building, i.e. conceptualization, measurement and aggregation. Moreover, they are for the most part limited to individual policy fields or there is a trade-off between the number of countries and years that are covered. The aim of this paper is to present the Immigration Policies in Comparison (IMPIC) project, which proposes a new and comprehensive way to measure immigration regulations. The dataset covers all major fields and dimensions
of immigration policies for 33 OECD countries between 1980 and 2010. This paper discusses the way immigration policies have been conceptualized, how policies have been measured and aggregated, and demonstrates the potential of such a new dataset.

Economics, State Policy and the Compulsory Return of Migrants from the United States to Europe, 1850-1900

Hidetaka Hirota (Columbia University)

This paper contributes to one of the conference themes, “the role of states and policies in migration processes,” by examining how economic concerns led to the formation of governmental policy that provided for the compulsory return of foreign migrants in the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century. Since the mid-nineteenth century, Americans expressed much frustration with foreigners’ poverty, especially that of those who entered public charitable institutions as paupers. Regarding these foreigners as unwanted consumers of citizens’ taxes that supported these institutions, some American states, such as Massachusetts and New York, developed passenger laws for prohibiting the landing of destitute foreigners and returning them to the place of departure. Massachusetts, in particular, also developed policies for deporting indigent aliens already in America to various parts of Europe, such as Liverpool and Irish port cities. These state-level policies developed into national immigration law in the 1880s. While the exclusion and deportation of destitute migrants remained in the provisions of national law, the federal government also developed policies for restricting the immigration of foreigners who came to the United States with labor contract signed abroad. Americans feared that as a result of job competition with such laborers who would be willing to work for lower wages than Americans, they would lose their jobs and economic independence. American immigration scholarship has long focused on federal immigration laws which developed from the 1880s onward, especially those based on racism, and tend to ignore earlier regulatory laws implemented by states. By tracing a series of state and federal immigration laws from 1850 to 1900, this paper demonstrates how economic concerns, such as immigrant poverty and American workers’ independence, guided the regulation of immigration to the United States and generated compulsory return migration to Europe.


Climate Variability and Migration: Evidence from Tanzania

Zaneta Kubik, and Mathilde Maurel (Sorbonne University)

We analyse whether Tanzanian rural households engage in internal migration as a response to weather-related shocks. We hypothesize that, when exposed to temperature and precipitation shock and a consecutive crop yield reduction, rural households use migration as a risk-management strategy. Our findings confirm that for an average household, a 1% reduction in agricultural income induced by weather shock increases the probability of migration by 3% within the following year. However, this effect is significant only for the two middle quartiles of wealth distribution, suggesting that the choice of migration as an adaptation strategy depends on initial endowment. What is more, the proposed mechanism applies to households whose income is highly dependent on agriculture, but is not important for diversified livelihoods.

Post-accession youth labour mobility from Slovakia: structural and labour market perspective

Lucia Mýtna Kureková (Central European University, Budapest)

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Slovakia persistently faces one of the highest youth unemployment rates among the EU member states and it also experienced large outflows of youth migrants after its accession to the EU. This paper analyzes the impact of structural factors on propensity of youth migrants to migrate and on the profiles of migrants across different regions in Slovakia. It merges macro-level labour market and economic performance indicators at the regional level with a unique micro-level dataset about migration intentions of graduating students collected at the height of country’s emigration wave and before the world economic crisis. It evaluates relative importance of structural, labour market and individual factors in affecting migration choice of highly educated youth. The analysis shows that labour market conditions and indicators of structural change at the level of regions are significant predictors of propensity to migrate among the graduating students, net of regional earnings levels, individual characteristic and personal perceptions about the ability to find work in the country. In addition, the region of origin shapes the profiles of migrants in important demographic characteristics, the countries of destination and the sectors of employment abroad. The paper links these findings to massive and harsh adjustments that affected different Slovak regions disproportionately during the process of transition and contributed to mismatches between the emerging job opportunities and qualifications of labour force. It contributes to understanding the role of sending country structural factors and broader non-migration policy framework, in addition to economic conditions, on migration choices of well-educated youth within Europe.


What Drives Soft Deportation? Understanding the Rise in Assisted Voluntary Return Among Rejected Asylum seekers in the Netherlands

Arjen Leerkes (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

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Governments, including the Dutch government, experience significant difficulties in realising the return of rejected asylum seekers. In the period 2005-20011 there has nonetheless been a notable increase in deportation and assisted voluntary return (AVR) among asylum seekers rejected in the Netherlands. This paper asks what caused the latter increase, investigating both 'non-policy' and 'policy' factors. Furthermore, both macro level factors (societal conditions in countries of origin and characteristics of the Dutch deportation regime) and individual-level factors (applicants' demographic characteristics and variation in status determination time) are taken into consideration. Part of the increase in AVR, perhaps ten percent, turns out to be related to non-policy factors, especially to the improved standard of living in countries of origin. A larger part, perhaps forty percent, seems to be related to three changes in the Dutch deportation regime: (1) an increased availability of 'native counsellors', (2) increased deportation risks and (3) increased 'reintegration support'. The analysis is based on a unique dataset (N=15.958) that includes data from IOM Netherlands and data from other non-governmental and governmental sources. The study is the first in its kind to quantitatively test central findings of qualitative studies on AVR, as well as more general studies on return migration (among non-asylum migrants), and contributes to the study of policy effects in migration studies. Some attention is also paid to the ethical dimensions of studying the determinants of AVR among rejected asylum seekers.

Albanian emigration in the context of crisis, economic development and rising inequalities

Mathias Lerch (University of Geneva)

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This paper examines the social demography underlying the unabated trend in international migration from post-communist Albania, which has come as a surprise in a context of declining population pressure and strong economic growth. Using retrospective data from the Living Standards Measurement Survey 2008, we describe trends in short- and long-term migration over the last two decades. We then model the changes in selection of first migrants in a longitudinal, multivariate and geographic perspective. Our results confirm a role for the demographic and economic drivers of mobility, as well as its diffusion across regions, social strata, and within communities. But this does not explain the unabated trend in the propensity to emigrate. Financial crisis, together with the attractive force provided by the regularization of the status of Albanians abroad, provoked a peak in outflow in the end of the 1990s, which inflated the cumulative causation of migration despite economic growth. We also found evidence for persistent short-term migration among the lower social strata, and increasingly among the highly skilled.

Panacea for International Labor Market Failures? Bilateral Labor Agreements and Labor Mobility

Steven Liao (University of Virginia)

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Do Bilateral Labor Agreements (BLAs) facilitate the cross-border mobility of low-skill workers? BLAs have been recently touted as an example of formal international cooperation that can lead to “triple- win,” in which migrants, the receiving country, and the sending country can all reap the economic benefits of higher cross-border labor mobility while avoiding the political costs. Yet, few studies have offered systematic evidence linking international agreements and higher cross-border labor mobility. Theories of international institutions would expect BLAs to promote bilateral labor mobility by reducing market failures due to communication, commitment, and coordination problems. However, unlike Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) or Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) that reduce costs of cross-border flows, BLAs shift costs instead to migrant workers and receiving country employers. As a result, I argue that the mobility of BLA-regulated labor workers, the relatively low-skilled, will decrease due to BLA-induced migration costs while high-skilled mobility will increase due to positive BLA externalities. To test the competing hypotheses, I fit a Bayesian generalized linear mixed model with the effect of BLA conditional on worker skill level to an unique skill-level Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) dyadic flow dataset covering the period 1992 to 2009. I show that low-skill OFW mobility is on average 0.5% lower while high-skill OFW mobility is 1.2% higher when BLAs exist. The paper contributes to the sparse but emerging literature that examines how international migration is regulated under formal international cooperation.

Beyond the state: cross-cultural migrations in Europe and Asia since 1500

Leo Lucassen (Leiden University)

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Keynote Day 2: Migration as part of development and social transformation

My paper, which builds on our ongoing research project on global migration history, deals with the problem that there is no agreed upon definition of what migration precisely is, which makes it very difficult to make comparisons through time and space. But also to use it as a structural variable in wider debates on cultural and economic change. To solve this problem the paper will propose a new method to define, measure and quantify cross-cultural migrations (inspired by Patrick Manning’s definition of this concept). This method and typology has been tested so far for Europe in the period 1500-1900 ( and recently (in a forthcoming edited volume on Eurasia, Brill Publishers April 2014) for Asia and Europe (at the level of Europe, Russia, China, Japan and India in the period 1600-2000). Apart from introducing a new definition and typology (which also includes, internal, high skilled an temporary movers), the paper will also discuss the differential impact of various types of cross-cultural on the migrants, the area of destination and the region of origin.


Is There a Reverse Welfare Magnet? The Effect of Social Policy in Developing Countries on International Migration

Edo Mahendra (University of Oxford)

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This paper investigates the plausibility of reverse welfare magnet. Established migration theories have discussed, albeit implicitly, the role of social policy in the migration dynamics of developing countries. However, most empirical studies have focused more on the effect of the welfare state in receiving countries on immigration, typically to test the welfare magnet hypothesis. This ‘receiving country bias’ leaves a huge gap in migration literature where sending countries’ perspective, especially those of the developing world, is largely absent.

Combining bilateral migration data (DEMIG-C2C) and public expenditure data (SPEED-IFPRI) between 1985 and 2011, I analyse how different social policy (public spending on education, health, and social protection) influences migration flow by employing gravity model. Since social policy is likely to be endogenous to migration flow, I conduct an instrumental variable approach to infer causality. I use the intensity of IMF programs in-effect (Dreher, 2006) as instrument for social policy.

This paper finds evidence of reverse welfare magnet which is often neglected in standard gravity model. Social policy in developing countries, especially public spending on health and social protection, is found to be migration-reducing. However, education spending is not found to be a significant reverse welfare magnet. I also introduce measures of welfare magnet (direct effect from receiving partner) and multilateral welfare magnet (spatial effect of other receiving partners) as controls. The results are robust even after we address the issues of multilateral resistance and presence of zeros. This paper provides empirical support for the prediction of new economics of labour migration. That is, through the provision of better livelihood security, social policy in developing countries changes the risk profile and opportunity costs faced by migrants -creating ‘natural buffer’ to migration- and results in lower migration flow. Better provision of social policy by developing countries could be essential in managing international migration.

International migration in theory and practice: A case study

Douglas Massey (Princeton University)

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Keynote Day 3: New theoretical and methodological avenues in migration research

Employment Protection and Migration

Yasser Moullan (University of Oxford) and Rémi Bazillier (University of Orléans)

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We argue in this paper that labor market institutions, and more particularly employment protection (EPL), are an important determinant of migration. Using a bilateral migration database, we empirically show that the employment protection differential has a negative impact on bilateral flows. Contrary to popular wisdom which assumes that migrants look for a more protected market, we show that migrants tend to move to countries where employment protection is close to that of their country of origin. Relative preferences over wages or employment, or a distinct impact on wages and employment may explain such results. We also show that these effects are stronger for high-skilled workers.


Growing restrictiveness or changing selection? The nature and evolution of migration policies

Katharina Natter, Hein de Haas and Simona Vezzoli (University of Oxford)

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Drawing on a new database (DEMIG POLICY) comprising over 6,500 migration policy changes in 45 countries, this paper analyses the nature and evolution of migration policies over the twentieth and early twenty-first century. The findings challenge the common assumption that migration policies have become increasingly restrictive over the past decades and instead demonstrate that since 1945, migration policies have been consistently dominated by less restrictive changes. This trend is robust across a large number of countries, but differs across different types of policy and migrant categories. While entry and integration policies have generally become less restrictive, border control and, since the 1990s, exit policies, have become more restrictive. Instead of a growing restriction, the essence of post-WWII migration policies has been an increasing sophistication through the development of increasingly specific policy instruments targeting particular immigrant groups. While policies towards migrant categories such as irregular migrants and more recently also family members have often become more restrictive, a larger number of – generally less visible – policies targeting high and low-skilled workers, students and migrants from specific origins have become less restrictive. Migration policies should therefore be understood as a tool of migrant selection rather than as an instrument affecting numbers.


From Brain-Drain to Brain-Gain: Interrogating Migration, Deskilling, and Return Migration in Contemporary Nigeria

Bukola Adeyemi Oyeniyi (Missouri State University)

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Using two governmental policies in Nigeria between 1986 to 1993 and 1999 to 2007, this paper examines how non-migration policies in country of origin influence migration decisions, stimulate different layers of migration, and affect aspirations of migrants in country of destination. Between 1986 and 1993, Nigeria under General Babangida implemented IMF’s Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) – an economic policy, which thrived on the deregulation of the agricultural sector, privatization of public enterprises, and devaluation of the national currency among others. SAP, on the short term, achieved its economic objectives; it, on the long term, stimulated the flight of highly skilled Nigerian professionals such as doctors and nurses, university professors and highly trained technical personnel majority of who moved to more favorable geographic, economic, or professional environs in the West and the Gulf States. Under President Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007, Nigeria also implemented the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) - an economic policy that seeks a synergy between government and private sector operators in wealth creation, employment generation, poverty reduction and value re-orientation. NEEDS therefore focuses on strategy and policy directions rather than programmes and projects.

As studies have shown, SAP weaned national and international migratory trends. At the national level, migratory trends were rural-urban, urban-rural, rural-rural and urban-urban. At the international level, armies of skilled personnel like engineers and technicians left for the Gulf States, while corps of professors, doctors and nurses headed for the UK, USA, Canada and the West in general. Invariably, while SAP led to many years of intellectual and technical personnel depletion, the implementation of NEEDS is bringing about a gradual return of some of Nigeria’s citizens who had fled the country during the SAP years.

As this paper seeks to show, while the migratory trends associated with currency devaluation, job-losses and increasing informalization of hitherto formal jobs cohere with Wilbur Zelinsky’s claim that the nature or type of development in a country informs migratory patterns that results from such a country, the evidence from SAP implementation in Nigeria and, as Deborah Potts also found in the case of Ghana, confirmed that migratory trends associated with SAP was not increasing exponentially from urban to urban or from rural to urban as claimed in Zelinsky’s critical rung of the mobility transition where urban-to-urban migration surpasses the rural-to-urban migration, and where rural-to-urban migration continues but at waning absolute or relative rates. The evidence from SAP implementation in Nigeria shows increasing movements from urban to rural and rural to rural migration and not Zelinsky’s complex migrational and circulatory movements within the urban network, from city to city or within a single metropolitan region.

At the international level, returned Nigerian migrants (similarly Ghanaians) noted that labor-related policies, visa categorizations, and foreign certificate classifications impact negatively on migrants whose qualifications/skills were demeaned/devalued in destination countries, forcing migrants to accept jobs that were not commensurate with their qualifications/skills, a situation that is fueling return migration.

As this paper concludes, while non-migration policies like SAP weaned internal migration and the development of ‘behind-the-counter’ or ‘black market’ nationally, similar policies breed deskilling in countries of destination.


On the Efficacy of High-Skilled Migration Policy

Christopher Parsons and Mathias Czaika (University of Oxford)

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Despite the almost ubiquitously held belief among developed country policy makers that increasingly selective immigration policies, whose aim is to attract highly skilled workers, meet their desired aims; to date there simple does not exist a judicious assessment of such claims. Such avenues of investigation have been stymied by a lack of suitable data coupled with fears of omitted variable bias since no doubt highly skilled workers are motivated to migrate for a whole raft of reasons other than receiving countries’ immigration policies.

In this paper, we examine the efficacy of high-skilled migration policies and investigate which types of policy are effective in attracting high skilled workers, while accounting for myriad other potential migration determinants in order to try and establish a causal effect from policy to international mobility. To this end, we combine a unique new collection of annual bilateral high-skilled immigration flows, based on register and administrative data for 14 receiving countries, including the top four receivers, namely the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom; with a new database comprising indicators for 23 unilateral high-skilled specific migration policies in addition to detailed dyadic migration policy variables based on the constituent components of bilateral labour agreements.

Our empirical model is based on the most recent advances in the economics literature i.e. a micro-founded derivation of the gravity model of international migration, one consistent with the underlying Random Utility Model (see Beine et al 2014), which suitably accounts for multilateral resistances to migration (Bertoli and Fernández-Huertas Moraga 2013), a notion akin to spatial substitution (de Haas 2011). Importantly, in order to better isolate the causal impact of policies on migration, we further include myriad characteristics of receiving countries, which are potentially important determinants, which include measures of education, crime, health and standard of living.

Economic perspectives on immigration policies and their impact on flow and selection of migrants

Giovanni Peri (University of California, Davis)

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Keynote Day 1: The role of states and policies in migration processes

Forced or voluntary migration?  A relational approach to a theoretical divide

Maritsa V. Poros (University of East London and the City University of New York)

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Although many scholars have acknowledged the ambiguous distinction between voluntary and forced migration for some time, empirical research and the policy discourse on these 'types' of migration remain stubbornly divided.  There are those who tend to study only refugees or 'forced' migration flows while others tend to study 'voluntary' migration such as labour migration.  I explore a possible bridge to this divide by making the case for a relational approach to migration.  The bridge is not an ideological one but rather based in the very reality of migration as both voluntary and forced.  More importantly, that empirical reality is understood not only as existing in relation to the lives of individuals and individual migration flows, but also as part of larger networks of relations that are involved in the migration process.  These networks of relations are not limited to interpersonal ties.  Importantly, they also include ties to, for example, organizations, such as in the workplace and education, international organizations, including those that serve displaced persons, and states and state officials.  A relational approach to migration avoids the pitfalls of studying migration as types by focusing instead on the relations themselves. This paper, thus, seeks to advance theory on the determinants of international migration.

Towards a New South-South Model: the Role of State Policies and Relative Development Levels in Chinese Migration to Zambia

Hannah Postel (Southern African Institute for Policy and Research)

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Migration scholars have begun to investigate how multilevel mobility determinants shape migration processes, especially the roles of relative development levels and state policies. However, most literature still focuses on archetypal low-skilled migration to high-income countries; this framework neither fully nor accurately describes newly emerging South-South migration. This paper attempts to fill this void through an analysis of Chinese migration to Zambia. This recently accelerating trend demonstrates significantly different characteristics from the South-North paradigm, especially in terms of relative development levels and policy priorities. China’s relatively advanced economy affects the motivations, composition, and behavior of migrants to Zambia. Rather than focus on enforcement as in typical Western countries, Zambian immigration policy attempts to improve domestic welfare through admitting educated, investment-focused newcomers. Many aspiring Chinese migrants fit this niche, as demonstrated by extremely high admission rates (under 1% of Chinese work permit applicants were rejected in 2012). The lack of both enforcement and migrant welfare provisions makes Zambia a relatively blank slate where it is possible to gain a unique perspective into sending country migration policy. Since many Chinese migrants move to Zambia under the auspices of state-owned enterprises, this opportunity is even more illustrative. Extensive fieldwork has yielded quantitative data on recent permit trends and survey responses targeting both employment practices of Chinese companies and individual motivations for migration. A Migrant Integration Policy Index-inspired evaluation of the Zambian immigration system in conjunction with perspectives from government officials and immigration consultants serve as a qualitative background. Though many underlying motivations are similar across migrant groups, different development levels and policy priorities warrant modification of the standard model to better describe South-South migration. By closely examining Chinese migration to Zambia, this paper attempts to broaden the focus of the migration field to include newly evolving South-South trends.


Reflections on migration/development regions in the context of a transition to high mobility

Ronald Skeldon (University of Sussex)

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Keynote Day 2: Migration as part of development and social transformation

European migration in the context of free movement of persons German migration flows to Switzerland prior to the First World War and after 2002

Ilka Steiner (University of Geneva)

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The past 20 years, European integration has induced a shift from state-controlled manpower recruiting to a predominately market regulated migration (Braun and Arsene 2009; Favell 2008) as well as to an Europeanization of migration flows. Switzerland also underwent this shift, notably with the Agreement on the free movements of persons with the EU in 2002 (Avenir Suisse 2008). Nevertheless, prior to the First World War, the country was already characterized by a liberal migration policy, leading to substantial migration flows from neighbouring countries.

However, literature often focuses on after 1945 and no study so far compared the two periods, which provide similar macro-contextual conditions for European migrants. This paper fills this research gap, in order to gain a better understanding of intra-European migration dynamics.

We question the preponderant role of the economy in shaping migration policy that “create concrete opportunity structures” (Haas 2011: 16) for European migrants. We argue that migration between Germany and Switzerland can, to a certain extent, be conceptualized as an extrapolation of internal migration, where the opportunity costs of international migration do not exceed the ones for internal migration anymore.

The analysis of the period prior to the First World War relies on secondary literature and the historical statistical yearbook of Switzerland. Regarding migration flows since 2002, we explore a newly created longitudinal data base, which follows German residents between 2000 and 2012 and provides general socio-demographic characteristics, their motivations for immigration and duration of residence.

Our paper first presents the evolution of Swiss migration policy and the country’s economic conjuncture since 1848 and their impact on German migration flows, pointing out the singularity of the two periods – i.e. 1848-1914 and 2002-2012 – considered in this research. Second, we discuss the migration dynamics by focusing on the aforementioned flow’s direction, composition and duration.


Mobility, materiality and modernity: global expectations as determinants in Morocco and Tunisia.

Francesco Vacchiano (University of Lisbon)

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In a recent article on migration and social transformation, Stephen Castles argued for “the need to embed migration research in a more general understanding of contemporary societies”. This call seems to be relevant well beyond the unquestionable need to theorize contemporary human mobilities. If migration has been a normal aspect of social life throughout history, every epoch may have configured some peculiar patterns of mobility, based upon time-related forms and reasons. Observed from the so-called “sending countries”, contemporary reasons seem to take up some specific features, which are representative of a sort of “global form of life” with hegemonic traits. Whereas people have normally explained their desire to move as a search for a better life, criteria against which ‘better life’ is defined today are influenced by standards whose origin is situated in a wider field of models and values. In countries like Morocco and Tunisia, for instance, young people frequently associate their desire to migrate to the possibility to live a “normal life” (ma‘īsha ‘adiyya), described through a series of “life conditions” (shurūţ dyal ‘aīsh) that configure a truly “modern” (‘aşryy) social and personal status. If material achievement through consumption is conceived as the primary source of visible success – a sort of “material citizenship” that enables to think to oneself (and to be deemed) as different – circulation across borders is regarded as the primary way to “become first class” (Ferguson) in a world in which movement represents one of the clearest forms of social power.

Drawing from a fifteen-year research in anthropology and psychology between the Maghreb and Europe, this contribution analyses the impact of hegemonic global values in Morocco and Tunisia, transforming mobility from a “way to have” to a “way to be”. In this sense, alongside the structural factors normally evoked to explain migration, I propose to consider global expectations (that is: the desire to be “modern” through movement, consumption and self-construction) as important determinants to understand the contemporary migration drive.

Unpacking the ‘colonial dummy’: an exploration of the role of decolonisation and origin country state formation in migration processes

Simona Vezzoli (University of Oxford)

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Migration research has not fully examined how decolonisation, resulting in either independence or non-sovereign political status, and the ensuing state formation processes have impacted migration patterns. It is generally expected that the structural changes introduced by independence strengthen emigration patterns and that colonial ties affect uniformly and indefinitely migration destination towards the former colonial state. The first part of this paper explores the dynamics of independence and shows that, unlike commonly assumed, this moment does not necessarily coincide with the establishment of migration policies that constrain movement towards the former colonial state. By using four hypothetical models, we can begin to explain how the timing of decolonisation and migration policies may strengthen or alter existing migration patterns. By using the case of the three Guianas – the independent countries of Guyana and Suriname and the French department of French Guiana - the paper presents empirical evidence of how these structural changes have stimulated migration substitution effects that have influenced the timing, volume, composition and direction of migration from the three Guianas.

The second part of the paper argues that the structural changes introduced by decolonisation must be integrated with an examination of state formation processes to explain long-term migration patterns. The processes of state formation, which include political transitions, economic development strategies and social transformations, play a key role in influencing migration after decolonisation. Empirical evidence of state formation processes in the three Guianas presents how governance, ideology, economic development and access to resources have influenced the timing, volume and composition of migration. However, these processes cannot be considered apart from the role of migration policies at destination, which have contributed to shaping these migration patterns, particularly in determining migration destination.