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The University of Southampton
EconomicsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Research project: Understanding Migrants' Choices, NORFACE

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Members of the economics division were awarded a large grant of €850,000 for a two year research programme on migration funded by NORFACE (New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Co-operation in Europe), which is a partnership between fourteen research councils to increase co-operation in research and research policy in Europe.

Dr Jackie Wahba (Principal Investigator), Dr Christian Schluter, Professor Xavier Mateos and Dr Hector Calvo Pardo will collaborate with the University of Stockholm, University of Münster and the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute.

The project seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the key drivers of migrants’ choices and the constraints they face, thereby enhancing the evidence base for policy formulation. Migrants make choices on whether to migrate temporarily or permanently. Thus, migrants who plan to return have little incentive to assimilate and invest in country-specific human capital whilst permanent migrants do. Migrants also decide on whether to migrate legally or illegally. Illegal migrants’ choice sets are severely constrained because they are breaking the law. In order to understand the distribution of outcomes in the labour market, the financial market and social sphere (‘assimilation’), we need to understand migrants’ choices, which are in turn driven by incentives and by constraints. The project combines innovative theoretical modelling with rigorous state-of-the-art econometric estimation to examine the key drivers of migrants’ choices.

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