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Selecting only the best and brightest? An assessment of migration policy selectivity and its effectiveness


  • Glenn Rayp
  • Ilse Ruyssen
  • Samuel Standaert


This paper introduces a new set of comprehensive and cross-country-comparable indexes of migration policy selectivity. Crucially, these reflect the multidimensional nature of the differential treatment of migrants. We use these indexes to study the evolution of migration policy selectivity and estimate how they affect migration flows. Combining all publicly available and relevant data since WWII, we build three composite indexes that identify selectivity in terms of skills, economic resources and nationality. First, we use these to characterise migration policies in 42 countries between 1990 and 2014. Second, we analyse the effectiveness of migration policy selectivity by estimating its impact on migration flows. Each of the three dimensions of selectivity is found to affect the size and structure of migration flows significantly.

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  • Glenn Rayp & Ilse Ruyssen & Samuel Standaert, 2023. "Selecting only the best and brightest? An assessment of migration policy selectivity and its effectiveness," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 23/1062, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  • Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:23/1062

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Guy Abel, 2013. "Estimating global migration flow tables using place of birth data," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 28(18), pages 505-546.
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    More about this item


    Migration Policy; International Migration; Selectivity; Effectiveness;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • P16 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Capitalist Economies - - - Capitalist Institutions; Welfare State
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models

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