What does migrant decision-making mean for policy?

Dr. Jessica Hagen-Zanker, Overseas Development Institute

In the wake of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ in 2015 many EU member states put in place an escalation of restrictive migration policies designed to stop people from coming to Europe. Yet, it has long been shown that such policies are not effective. The key question then is why these kinds of migration policies are, on the whole, so ineffective. One answer is that other policy areas besides migration affect migration flows. Migration policies are also ineffective because they are based on superficial assumptions of why people leave. Policies are frequently based on the idea of simple push-pull models and neglect the role of a whole range of intervening and social factors that shape migration decisions. This paper first summarises the evidence on the factors that shape decision-making. It then shows how these decisions affect the effectiveness of migration policies, introducing the ‘policy transformation process’ framework. This framework shows how the content of migration policies is diluted at different stages of its lifecycle and why they might not achieve their intended objectives.



About the speaker

Jessica Hagen-Zanker is a Senior Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute. She coordinates the migration research at ODI and leads ODI’s contributions to two five-year projects on migration and development, MIGNEX (EC funded) and the GCRF UKRI South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub. Her research focuses on understanding how migration and economic and social policies affect migrant decision-making, impacts of migration on migrants and their families, the interlinkages between migration and social protection, covering a diverse range of countries, including Albania, Ethiopia and Nepal. Jessica also has extensive experience in the design and analysis of household surveys, conducting systematic literature reviews and the analysis of social protection programmes and policies. She holds a PhD in Public Policy from Maastricht University.



Date: 03 April 2019

Time: 13:00 - 14:00


UNU-MERIT