Search for a New Home: Refugee Mobility and Google Search

A. Ebru Sanliturk , Bocconi University
Francesco Billari, Bocconi University

The trends of online search queries are increasingly being used as an estimator in social sciences. Following the assumption that online search query trends may indicate intentions and help to predict human behavior, this study addresses the general issue of analyzing, nowcasting/forecasting and predicting migration decisions. We aim to shed light to this issue through an analysis of Google search queries using the case of Syrian refugees’ mobility across provinces in Turkey. By exploiting the difference in the alphabet used by Turkish and Syrian citizens as the method of differentiation between locals and Syrians and using a unique data set, we examine the relationship between Google search queries for province names in Turkey and the distribution of registered Syrian citizens across provinces. The empirical analysis we conduct aims to contribute to the literature by analyzing the online traces of settlement & re-settlement decisions in the case of urban refugees in Turkey.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 28. Data and Measures. Session within the Project of Excellence of the Department of Statistical Sciences of Padova University