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Conceptualizing and Measuring Immigration Policies: A Comparative Perspective


  • Liv Bjerre
  • Marc Helbling
  • Friederike Römer
  • Malisa Zobel


type="main" xml:id="imre12100-abs-0001"> In the last decade, researchers have developed many innovative ideas for the construction of indices measuring immigration policies. Methodological considerations have, however, been largely absent from the discussion. To close this gap, this paper investigates the characteristics of existing indices by critically comparing and discussing them. We start by providing a definition of immigration policy which may serve as a benchmark when assessing the indices. By means of the analytical framework developed by Munck and Verkuilen (2002), which we adapt and customize for our analysis, we then evaluate the conceptualization, measurement, and aggregation, as well as the empirical scope of thirteen immigration policy indices. We discuss methodological strengths and weaknesses of the indices, how these affect the research questions that can be answered and what the next steps in index building within the field of immigration policy should be.

Suggested Citation

  • Liv Bjerre & Marc Helbling & Friederike Römer & Malisa Zobel, 2015. "Conceptualizing and Measuring Immigration Policies: A Comparative Perspective," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 555-600, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:intmig:v:49:y:2015:i:3:p:555-600

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    Cited by:

    1. Cadge, Wendy & Griera, Mar & Lucken, Kristen & Michalowski, Ines, 2017. "Religion in Public Institutions: Comparative Perspectives from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 226-233.
    2. MarcHelbling, 2018. "A Comparison of Immigration Policies," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 16(01), pages 14-17, May.
    3. Claudia Lumpe, 2019. "Public beliefs in social mobility and high-skilled migration," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(3), pages 981-1008, July.
    4. Michel Beine & Anna Boucher & Brian Burgoon & Mary Crock & Justin Gest & Michael Hiscox & Patrick McGovern & Hillel Rapoport & Joep Schaper & Eiko Thielemann, 2016. "Comparing Immigration Policies: An Overview from the IMPALA Database," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 827-863, December.
    5. Schmid, Samuel D. & Helbling, Marc, 2016. "Validating the Immigration Policies in Comparison (IMPIC) dataset," Discussion Papers, various Research Units SP VI 2016-202, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    6. repec:ces:ifodic:v:16:y:2018:i:1:p:50000000001953 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Rayp, Glenn & Ruyssen, Ilse & Standaert, Samuel, 2017. "Measuring and Explaining Cross-Country Immigration Policies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 141-163.
    8. Müller-Funk, Lea & Fröhlich, Christiane & Bank, André, 2020. "State(s) of negotiation: Drivers of forced migration governance in most of the world," GIGA Working Papers 323, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    9. Helbling, Marc & Michalowski, Ines, 2017. "A New Agenda for Immigration and Citizenship Policy Research," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 3-13.

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