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The effect of peer-to-peer risk information on potential migrants – Evidence from a randomized controlled trial in Senegal


  • Tjaden, Jasper
  • Dunsch, Felipe Alexander


In response to mounting evidence on the dangers of irregular migration from Africa to Europe, the number of information campaigns which aim to raise awareness about the potential risks has rapidly increased. Governments, international organizations and civil society organizations implement a variety of campaigns to counter the spread of misinformation accelerated by smuggling and trafficking networks. The evidence on the effects of such information interventions on potential migrants remains limited and largely anecdotal. More generally, the role of risk perceptions in the decision-making process of potential irregular migrants is rarely explicitly tested, despite the fact that the concept of risk pervades conventional migration models, particularly in the field of economics. We address this gap by assessing the effects of a peer-to-peer information intervention on the perceptions, knowledge and intentions of potential migrants in Dakar, Senegal, using a randomized controlled trial design. The results show that – three months after the intervention – peer-to-peer information events increase potential migrants’ subjective information levels, raise risk awareness, and reduce intentions to migrate irregularly. We find no substantial effects on factual migration knowledge. We discuss how the effects may be driven by the trust and identification-enhancing nature of peer-to-peer communication.

Suggested Citation

  • Tjaden, Jasper & Dunsch, Felipe Alexander, 2021. "The effect of peer-to-peer risk information on potential migrants – Evidence from a randomized controlled trial in Senegal," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 145(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:145:y:2021:i:c:s0305750x21001005
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105488

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