International Migration Systems: Evidence from Harmonized Flows Data

Jack DeWaard, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Keuntae Kim, University of Wisconsin at Madison
James Raymer, University of Southampton

Proponents of migration systems theory maintain that empirical evidence specifically from data on bilateral migration flows is central to determining the existence and properties of migration systems; yet, in their available forms, these data lack a meaningful unit of analysis given discrepant systems of data collection and employed validation criteria at the level of the nation-state. The current project therefore attempts to marshal evidence on the properties of migration systems from harmonized data on bilateral migration flows. We consider harmonized estimates of bilateral flows within the European Union from 2003-2007 and assess the theoretical expectation that migration systems are structured hierarchically. Fixed effects variable decomposition permits the estimation of time-invariant effects associated with origin-destination pairs – e.g., shared national/colonial origins, common official language(s), and joint pre-2000 EU tenure – and confirm their explanatory primacy relative to the contributions of origin and destination factors, respectively.

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Presented in Session 36: Return Migration and Migration Systems