Explaining the evolution of international migration flows: empirical evidence for migration to Spain

Maria del Mar Cebrian, Universidad de Salamanca

In this study we apply a panel data model in order to explain the annual migratory flows to Spain by source country between 1995 and 2005. Spain is a very interesting case since this country has gone from being a migrant-sending country to being a country of immigration in the last twenty years and to being currently the main receiving country of Europe. We analyze the effect on migration of average income and poverty in destination and origin countries. We also examine the impact of geographical, cultural, and demographic factors as well as the role played by changes in Spanish migration policies. The analysis both delivers estimates consistent with the predictions of the international migration model. We also find that visa requirements help to reduce immigration to Spain. However, regularisations seem to have a small “pull” effect. Thus, regularisation programmes are not an effective policy response to reduce the number of immigrants. Finally, we cannot forget factors such us the recent demographic trends or the role of the labour market in the underground economy as other possible determinants of recent migrant flows to Spain.

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Presented in Session 10: Statistical Sources, Measurement and Methodology in International Migration