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Human Smuggling and Intentions to Migrate: Global Evidence From a Supply Shock along Africa-to-Europe Migration Routes

Author

Listed:
  • Guido Friebel

    (Goethe University Frankfurt, CEPR and IZA)

  • Miriam Manchin

    (University College of London)

  • Mariapia Mendola

    (Università di Milano-Bicocca and IZA)

  • Giovanni Prarolo

    (Università di Bologna)

Abstract

Africa-to-Europe irregular migration depends heavily on human smuggling services. The demise of the Gaddafi regime in 2011 marked the end of a bilateral agreement between Italy and Libya and opened the Central Mediterranean Route for irregular border crossing. How did this remarkable increase in human smuggling services affect migration intentions in the rest of the region? This paper isolates a causal impact by exploiting the spatial dimension of the smuggling network and its change over time, which produced a heterogeneous decrease in bilateral migration distances between countries in Africa and Europe. We use this source of variation and a novel dataset of bilateral distances along irregular land and sea routes, combined with cross-country survey data on individual intentions to move from Africa to Europe between 2010 and 2012. Netting out pair- and country-by-time-specific fixed effects, we find a large negative effect of distance along smuggling routes on individual migration intentions. Shorter distances increase the willingness to migrate especially for youth, (medium) skilled individuals and those with a network abroad. The effect is stronger in origin countries not too far from Libya and with weak rule of law.

Suggested Citation

  • Guido Friebel & Miriam Manchin & Mariapia Mendola & Giovanni Prarolo, 2018. "Human Smuggling and Intentions to Migrate: Global Evidence From a Supply Shock along Africa-to-Europe Migration Routes," Development Working Papers 432, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:432
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Tijan L. Bah & Cátia Batista, 2018. "Understanding willingness to migrate illegally: Evidence from a lab in the field experiment," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1803, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.
    2. Manchin, Miriam & Orazbayev, Sultan, 2018. "Social networks and the intention to migrate," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 360-374.
    3. Russo, Giuseppe & Salsano, Francesco, 2019. "Electoral systems and immigration," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    4. Claudio Deiana & Vikram Maheshri & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2020. "Migrants at Sea: Unintended Consequences of Search and Rescue Operations," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 636, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    5. Martínez Flores, Fernanda, 2018. "The deterrence effect of immigration enforcement in transit countries: Evidence from Central American deportees," Ruhr Economic Papers 749, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Fernanda Martínez Flores, 2020. "The Effects of Enhanced Enforcement at Mexico’s Southern Border: Evidence From Central American Deportees," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(5), pages 1597-1623, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    International Migration; Human Smuggling; Illegal Migration; Libyan Civil War;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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