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Eliciting illegal migration rates through list randomization

  • McKenzie D.
  • Siegel M.

    (UNU-MERIT)

Most migration surveys do not ask about the legal status of migrants due to concerns about the sensitivity of this question. List randomization is a technique that has been used in a number of other social science applications to elicit sensitive information. We trial this technique by adding it to surveys conducted in Ethiopia, Mexico, Morocco and the Philippines. We show how, in principle, this can be used to both give an estimate of the overall rate of illegal migration in the population being surveyed, as well as to determine illegal migration rates for subgroups such as more or less educated households. Our results suggest that there is some indication in this method we find higher rates of illegal migrationin countries where illegal migration is thought to be more prevalent and households who say they have a migrant are more likely to report having an illegal migrant. Nevertheless, some of our other findings also suggest some possible inconsistencies or noise in the conclusions obtained using this method, so wesuggest directions for future attempts to implement this approach in migration surveys.

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File URL: http://pub.maastrichtuniversity.nl/6ef76fe3-967b-4dfb-bd08-4a43362aee96
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Paper provided by United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in its series MERIT Working Papers with number 023.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2013023
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  1. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2011. "List Randomization for Sensitive Behavior: An Application for Measuring Use of Loan Proceeds," NBER Working Papers 17475, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bruhn, Miriam & Lara Ibarra, Gabriel & McKenzie, David, 2013. "Why is voluntary financial education so unpopular ? Experimental evidence from Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6439, The World Bank.
  3. Alexander L. Janus, 2010. "The Influence of Social Desirability Pressures on Expressed Immigration Attitudes," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(4), pages 928-946.
  4. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(4), pages 869-924, December.
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