Eliciting Illegal Migration Rates Through List Randomization

19 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by David J. McKenzie

David J. McKenzie

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Melissa Siegel

Maastricht University - Graduate School of Governance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 1, 2013

Abstract

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. This paper trials this technique by adding it to surveys conducted in Ethiopia, Mexico, Morocco, and the Philippines. It shows how, in principal, this can be used both to 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. The results suggest that there is some useful information in this method: higher rates of illegal migration in 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 the other findings also suggest some possible inconsistencies or noise in the conclusions obtained using this method. The authors suggest directions for future attempts to implement this approach in migration surveys.

Keywords: Population Policies, Anthropology, Banks & Banking Reform, International Migration, Human Migrations & Resettlements

Suggested Citation

McKenzie, David John and Siegel, Melissa, Eliciting Illegal Migration Rates Through List Randomization (April 1, 2013). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6426, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2258273

David John McKenzie (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Melissa Siegel

Maastricht University - Graduate School of Governance ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

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