International Migration and Government Policies: Immigration vs. Emigration Restrictions

Christoph Deuster , UN DESA

This paper studies the relationship between migration policies and migration flows. The analysis collects information on immigration and emigration policies from the World Population Policies database in order to obtain a measure on migration restrictions of 41 destination and 195 origin countries. It codes government policies on migration according to their restrictiveness and combines this information with biannual data on migration flows between 41 destination and 228 origin territories for the period 2001-2012. It then uses a gravity framework in order to determine the potential impact of immigration and emigration policies on bilateral migration flows. The paper finds that immigration restrictions seem to crucially impact on bilateral migration flows. Emigration restrictions, however, do not seem to play a similar important role. This suggests that policies targeting immigrants rather than emigrants have a stronger impact on the shape and size of international migration flows.

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 Presented in Session 63. International Migration