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Research seminar

Information and Irregular Migration

Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nigeria

Add to calendar 2022-02-09 16:00 2022-02-09 17:00 Europe/Rome Information and Irregular Migration Zoom YYYY-MM-DD


09 February 2022

16:00 - 17:00 CET



In this CIVICA Data Science seminar, Research Fellow Alexandra Scacco presents the result of a field experiment analysing the impact of an European information campaign in Nigeria, designed to discourage irregular African migration.
Policy projections and recent research suggest that large numbers of irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa will continue to attempt to make their way to Europe over the next few decades. In response, European countries have made and continue to make significant investments in information campaigns designed to discourage irregular African migration. These campaigns are frequently accompanied by evaluations of some sort but, to our knowledge, none have involved a well-powered randomised controlled trial with a representative sample and actual migration as an outcome. We report results from such a field experiment that we implemented in 2020 and 2021 with 3200 households in Edo and Delta states in Nigeria, in which treated households received detailed, accurate information about features of the journey along the Mediterranean route. We estimate effects of this information on beliefs about migration-related risks, interest in attempting irregular migration, and actual migration from treated households, using data collected approximately six to twelve months after treatment. We find that potential migrants in this context are ex ante better informed about destination contexts than European information campaigns assume, but are surprisingly poorly informed about key aspects of the migration journey itself. Preliminary experimental results identify small but significant shifts in beliefs about migration-related risks, and in personal interest in attempting the journey.
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