Spatial Dependence in Asylum Migration
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 41 (7), 2015, pp. 1131-1151
36 Pages Posted: 21 May 2012 Last revised: 13 Jul 2015
Date Written: August 1, 2014
Existing refugees in a destination country from the same source country reduce the uncertainty faced by subsequent asylum migrants since existing refugees can provide information and assistance. We argue that such network effects extend beyond the borders of specific source countries. Potential asylum migrants might also be able to draw on networks from geographically proximate as well as linguistically similar countries and from countries having previously been colonized by the same destination country, thus creating spatial dependence in asylum migration among source countries. Many destination countries meanwhile aspire to reduce the inflow of migrants by tightening their asylum policies. Target countries which restrict their policies relatively more than other destinations deflect some asylum migrants to geographically proximate destination countries, thus creating spatial dependence among target countries. We find evidence for both types of spatial dependence in our global analysis of asylum migration. However, while statistically significant, the degree of spatial dependence among target countries is modest. On the source side, there is evidence for modest spatial dependence among linguistically similar countries and no evidence for spatial dependence among countries which were previously colonized by the same destination country. By contrast, we find substantial spatial dependence among geographically proximate source countries.
Keywords: migration, migrant networks, asylum policy, externalities, spatial dependence
JEL Classification: F22, J15, K37
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation