14/03/2018 Migration Seminar by Eleonora Nillesen

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Date(s) - 14/03/18
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm



Dr. Nillesen (UNU-MERIT) will present “Determinants and Dynamics of Forced Migration: Evidence from Flows and Stocks in Europe”. The seminar will be held from on 14 March 2018 from 12:00-13:00 in the UNU-MERIT building at Boschstraat 24 in room 1.23. A sandwich lunch will be provided. The migration seminar series is offered jointly by MGSoG/UNU-MERIT in collaboration with MACIMIDE, and features researchers and practitioners whose work addresses human mobility.  


This paper investigates the determinants of bilateral forced migration flows to 28 European countries in the context of two major “crises” – the Balkans conflicts of the 1990s and the post-Arab spring crisis that has endured since 2010. Violence in general and civil war in particular have been identified as the main determinants of forced migration. Yet, economic research on more general migration flows focuses on the “pull” factors that make particular destinations desirable, as well as the “push” factors that make migration necessary. As in traditional economic literature, we pay particular attention to dynamics by analysing both the lagged forced migration flows and the stock of forced migrants in destination countries to capture partial adjustment and network effects. Our analyses show that these dynamic effects are robust indicators of selection into destination countries; that the employment rate in the destination country is the only significant “pull” factor with other economic variables playing no role; that development expenditure does not deter or encourage migration; and that conflict is positive and significantly correlated with first time asylum applications. More so, we find that it is specific episodes of conflict that drive movements, rather than the accumulated history of conflict intensity. Out-of-sample predictions suggest that if conflict in all origin countries were to cease, forced migration would continue but at a significantly reduced rate, from an average in 2016 of 205 per month per origin-destination country pair to 81 per month.  


Speaker biography:  

Eleonora Nillesen is a research fellow at UNU-MERIT and coordinates the research theme on Economic Development, Innovation, Governance and Institutions. She holds a PhD in development economics from Wageningen University, the Netherlands. Prior to joining UNU-MERIT in 2014 she has held positions at Wageningen University, ETH Zürich and DIW Berlin. Her research focuses on the causal impacts of policies and interventions, specifically in poor and fragile environments. She uses (quasi) experimental designs and observational data to examine the impact of development programs and policies, and identify the role of (in)formal institutions and leadership as drivers of technology adoption. She has published on these topics in leading economics journals, including The American Economic Review, Journal of Development Economics and Journal of Public Economics. She currently runs research projects in DR Congo, Liberia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan and Tunisia. Eleonora has served as a consultant to the World Bank, UNDP and UNICEF on various occasions and is a member of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3IE) expert’s roster. She is also affiliated with the Graduate School of Business and Economics at Maastricht University; the International Security and Development Center in Berlin; the Global Labor Organization and the Households in Conflict Network.