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Human Smuggling


  • Friebel, Guido

    () (Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Guriev, Sergei

    () (New Economic School, Moscow)


Despite its importance in global illegal migration, there is little, and mostly theoretical research on human smuggling. We suggest an analytical framework to understand the micro structure of the human smuggling market. Migrants interact with smuggling and financing intermediaries; these may or may not be integrated with each other, and with the migrants' employers. Policies of receiving countries (border controls, employer sanctions, deportation policies, sales of visa) affect the interactions in the smuggling market, and, hence, migration flows. We review the theoretical work, point to the scarce empirical evidence, and identify challenges for future theoretical, empirical work and policy advice.

Suggested Citation

  • Friebel, Guido & Guriev, Sergei, 2012. "Human Smuggling," IZA Discussion Papers 6350, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6350

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    Other versions of this item:

    • Guido Friebel & Sergei Guriev, 2013. "Human smuggling," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 6, pages 121-134 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jakobsson, Niklas & Kotsadam, Andreas, 2015. "The Economics of Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation," Memorandum 07/2015, Oslo University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    trafficking; illegal migration;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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