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Eliciting Illegal Migration Rates through List Randomization

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  • McKenzie, David

    ()
    (World Bank)

  • Siegel, Melissa

    ()
    (Maastricht University)

Abstract

Most migration surveys do not ask about the legal status of migrants due to concerns about the sensitivity of this question. List randomization is a technique that has been used in a number of other social science applications to elicit sensitive information. We trial this technique by adding it to surveys conducted in Ethiopia, Mexico, Morocco and the Philippines. We show how, in principal, this can be used to both give an estimate of the overall rate of illegal migration in the population being surveyed, as well as to determine illegal migration rates for subgroups such as more or less educated households. Our results suggest that there is some useful information in this method: we find higher rates of illegal migration in countries where illegal migration is thought to be more prevalent and households who say they have a migrant are more likely to report having an illegal migrant. Nevertheless, some of our other findings also suggest some possible inconsistencies or noise in the conclusions obtained using this method, so we suggest directions for future attempts to implement this approach in migration surveys.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7401.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Migration Studies, 2013, 1(3): 276-91
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7401

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Related research

Keywords: survey techniques; item count method; list randomization; illegal migration;

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References

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  1. Alexander L. Janus, 2010. "The Influence of Social Desirability Pressures on Expressed Immigration Attitudes," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(4), pages 928-946.
  2. Bruhn, Miriam & Lara Ibarra, Gabriel & McKenzie, David, 2013. "Why is voluntary financial education so unpopular ? Experimental evidence from Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6439, The World Bank.
  3. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2011. "List Randomization for Sensitive Behavior: An Application for Measuring Use of Loan Proceeds," NBER Working Papers 17475, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," NBER Working Papers 12141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  1. Three new papers on measuring stuff that is difficult to measure
    by ? in Development Impact on 2013-07-08 15:32:00

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