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Generating new theoretical and empirical insights into the way states and policies shape migration processes in their interaction with other migration determinants.

DEMIG (Determinants of International Migration) has compiled new migration flow, policy and visa databases, and generated a series of theoretical and empirical research papers. In future years, DEMIG aims to further expand the geographical and historical coverage of databases, as well as the scope of analysis through international collaborations.

Research objectives

The effectiveness of migration policies has been widely contested in the face of their hypothesised failure to steer migration and their unintended effects on the volume, timing, direction and composition of migration. Due to serious methodological flaws and significant data gaps, most evidence has remained largely descriptive, biased and partial until recently, omitting crucial sending country and policy variables.

More fundamentally, the controversy around the effectiveness of migration policies reveals a limited theoretical understanding of the forces driving international migration. Although there is consensus that macro-contextual factors in sending and receiving countries, policies, as well as ‘internal dynamics’ such as networks all play some role, there is no agreement on their relative weight and mutual interaction.

DEMIG aims to answer the following questions:

  • What has been the nature, structure and evolution of global migration in the 1950-2010 period?
  • What has been the nature and evolution of immigration and emigration policies in the 1950-2010 period?
  • How do states and migration policies affect the (i) volume; (ii) timing; (iii) duration; (iv) direction; and (v) composition of international migration?

Our team

Selected publications

Related research themes