International Migration Intentions and Illegal Costs: Evidence from Africa-to-Europe Smuggling Routes

35 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2018

See all articles by Guido Friebel

Guido Friebel

Goethe University Frankfurt; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Miriam Manchin

University College London; Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano

Mariapia Mendola

University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA); Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS); Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for European Studies (CefES)

Giovanni Prarolo

University of Bologna; University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA)

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Abstract

Irregular migrants from Africa and the Middle East flow into Europe along land and sea routes under the control of human smugglers. The demise of the Gaddafi regime in 2011 marked the opening of the Central Mediterranean Route for irregular border - crossing between Libya and Italy. This resulted in the immediate expansion of the global smuggling network, which produced an asymmetric reduction in bilateral distance between country pairs across the Mediterranean sea. We exploit this source of spatial and time variation in irregular migration routes to estimate the elasticity of migration intentions to illegal moving costs proxied by distance.We build a novel dataset of geolocalized time-varying migration routes, combined with cross-country survey data on individual intentions to move from Africa (and the Middle East) into Europe. Netting out any country-by-time and pair-level confounders we find a large negative effect of distance along smuggling routes on individual migration intentions. Shorter distances increase the willingness to migrate especially for youth, (medium) skilled individuals and those with a network abroad. The effect is stronger in countries closer to Libya and with weak rule of law.

Keywords: international migration, human smuggling, illegal migration, Libyan Civil War

JEL Classification: K23, K42

Suggested Citation

Friebel, Guido and Manchin, Miriam and Mendola, Mariapia and Prarolo, Giovanni, International Migration Intentions and Illegal Costs: Evidence from Africa-to-Europe Smuggling Routes. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11978. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3301736

Guido Friebel (Contact Author)

Goethe University Frankfurt ( email )

Grüneburgplatz 1
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Miriam Manchin

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano ( email )

Via Conservatorio 7
Milan, 20122
Italy

Mariapia Mendola

University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA) ( email )

Via Conservatorio 7
Milano, 20122
Italy

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milan, 20126
Italy

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for European Studies (CefES)

U6 Building
Viale Piero e Alberto Pirelli, 22
Milano, 20126
Italy

Giovanni Prarolo

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, 40100
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www2.dse.unibo.it/prarolo/

University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA) ( email )

Via P. Amedeo 34
Milano, Mi 20122
Italy

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