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International Migration Intentions and Illegal Costs: Evidence from Africa-to-Europe Smuggling Routes

Author

Listed:
  • Friebel, Guido

    () (Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Manchin, Miriam

    () (University College London)

  • Mendola, Mariapia

    () (University of Milan Bicocca)

  • Prarolo, Giovanni

    () (University of Bologna)

Abstract

Irregular migrants from Africa and the Middle East flow into Europe along land and sea routes under the control of human smugglers. The demise of the Gaddafi regime in 2011 marked the opening of the Central Mediterranean Route for irregular border - crossing between Libya and Italy. This resulted in the immediate expansion of the global smuggling network, which produced an asymmetric reduction in bilateral distance between country pairs across the Mediterranean sea. We exploit this source of spatial and time variation in irregular migration routes to estimate the elasticity of migration intentions to illegal moving costs proxied by distance. We build a novel dataset of geolocalized time-varying migration routes, combined with cross-country survey data on individual intentions to move from Africa (and the Middle East) into Europe. Netting out any country-by-time and pair-level confounders 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 countries closer to Libya and with weak rule of law.

Suggested Citation

  • Friebel, Guido & Manchin, Miriam & Mendola, Mariapia & Prarolo, Giovanni, 2018. "International Migration Intentions and Illegal Costs: Evidence from Africa-to-Europe Smuggling Routes," IZA Discussion Papers 11978, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11978
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    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp11978.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    international migration; human smuggling; illegal migration; Libyan Civil War;

    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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