Tag Archives: migration

Presentation of the EuroMed Report on: “Repatriation of Refugees from Arab Conflicts” (Nov 21st, Cairo)

FEMISE and ERF have the pleasure to announce that the FEMISE-ERF report will be presented in a special session that will be organised by ERF during its 2-days workshop (20-21 November in Cairo, Egypt). The special session (on the 21 of November) will host authors of the report, allow them to present the main message of their chapters and open a debate with institutional representatives and policy stakeholders on tangible solutions.


Download the report here (EN, PDF, 4.6 MB).



The prospects for early re­patriation of refugees who have fled conflicts in Arab countries in recent years do not yet look promising. Nevertheless, not only have discussions about repatriation started at both national and in­ternational levels, but there is also a steady, though still limited, stream of refugees in neighbouring countries trickling back to their war-ravaged homes. With the doors of naturalization and resettlement all but closed and the socio-economic situation in host countries weakening, the refugees have found themselves caught in very difficult circum­stances.

While mass repatriation at this stage remains premature for all war-torn countries, the current situation dictates that we recognize and unpack the issue of repatriation in all its dimen­sions, so that if and when the time comes, informed actions can be taken. This would help to support the most positive outcomes – pri­marily for the refugees, but also for other stakeholders, such as host communities and those left behind in the conflict countries.

This is what this year’s FEMISE-ERF Euromed Report on « REPATRIATION OF REFUGEES FROM ARAB CONFLICTS: Conditions, Costs and Scenarios for Reconstruction”* is addressing in its four chapters. The authors look into the characteristics of the refugees and the conditions affecting their decisions to return. This overview is followed by an analysis of the possible political settlement scenarios and reconstructions’ potentials, with a focus on the possible role of the international community. The authors then analyse the economic costs of conflicts as well as post-conflict growth scenarios. The report concludes by highlighting the main findings and providing policy insights into how to address this issue to ensure a safe, sustainable and dignified return of refugees to their home countries.

Contributors to the report : Ibrahim Elbadawi, Belal Fallah, Jala Youssef, Maryse Louis, Roger Albinyana, Samir Makdisi, Semih Tumen 

* This report received financial support from the European Union through the FEMISE project on “Support to Economic Research, studies and dia­logues of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”. Any views expressed in this report are the sole responsibility of the authors.

FEMISE MedBRIEF 28: ” Migration, Comparative Advantages and Knowledge Diffusion”

Dr. Anna M. Ferragina, CELPE, University of Salerno, FEMISE

The FEMISE Policy Brief series MED BRIEF aspires to provide Forward Thinking for the EuroMediterranean region. The briefs contain succinct, policy-oriented analysis of relevant EuroMed issues, presenting the views of FEMISE researchers and collaborators to policy-makers.

The latest MED BRIEF on “Migration, Comparative Advantages and Knowledge Diffusion in the EU-Mediterranean region” is available here.


Summary In this policy brief we report the outcomes of a project which investigates how migration flows between MENA and the EU can impact their trade relations. We explore the link between immigration and emigration with the intensive margin (IM) and the extensive margin of trade (EM). The main novelty is to try to disentangle the knowledge transmissions channels from network and preference effects in relation to migration flows.  The analysis is carried out by checking for migration effects on the degree of technology embodied in EU traded goods by considering low, medium and high technology classes. Our results and policy implications are important for harnessing the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership for prosperity, growth and employment and are of relevance to policy-makers dealing with migration policies, trade-negotiators, and for civil society and businesses.

The list of FEMISE MED BRIEFS is available here.

The policy brief has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union within the context of the FEMISE program. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the authors and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.

Effects of Syrian Refugees on Labor Markets of Host Middle Eastern and European Countries

This research seeks to contribute to the assessment of refugees impact within labor markets and differing countries’ economies.

The country review and the empirical results lead us to four main policy recommendations.

As for the majority of countries no connection between the Syrian refugees’ inflow and unemployment or wages has been found, first, we recommend strengthening the existing trend of removing refugee-specific barriers in the labor market.

In addition, in countries with high minimum wage, temporary exceptions should be permitted in order to promote the employment of refugees.

Another important recommendation is to provide temporary migration opportunities in line with the labor market needs and address shortage of workers in some occupations, such as agriculture. A further investigation is needed based on each country’s needs.

Our last policy recommendation is to offer targeted temporary work opportunities and programs, as some European countries are already doing, both to local population that might be affected by the integration of refugees, and to the refugees themselves.

Do emigrants self-select along cultural traits?: Evidence from the MENA countries

Migrants’ selection by cultural traits, beliefs and practices has been largely understudied in the existing literature. In an attempt to fill this gap, this paper investigates whether migration aspirations, concrete plans to emigrate, and preferred destination choices are influenced by cultural traits in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA). We use the Gallup World Poll (GWP) surveys, which document migration aspirations, cultural traits and many other characteristics of individuals. We limit our sample to 17 MENA countries where Gallup conducted at least one wave of its survey between the years 2007 and 2016.

To begin with, we show that migration aspirations are correlated with actual migration flows obtained from the OECD International Migration Database. This suggests that the patterns of migration aspirations are likely to be similar to the patterns of actual migration. The average share of aspiring migrants in our sample is around 24%. Syria exhibits the largest share with over 35%; Jordan and Algeria come next at about 30%; Niger, Azerbaijan and Chad exhibit the smallest shares at about 20%. Through cultural proximity and network effects, former colonial ties are still affecting the preferred destinations of aspiring migrants. On average, 52.3% of the aspiring migrants from the MENA would like to move to an OECD destination country. This share amounts to 90% in Morocco and Algeria, while it is around 10% in Yemen and Niger.

We conduct a two-stage Principal Component Analysis on a set of 12 opinion questions to identify four synthetic indicators of cultural traits. We find that Lebanon and Azerbaijan are the most progressive in terms of gender-egalitarian attitudes. Iran and Azerbaijan are the less religious countries; on the contrary, sub-Saharan African countries (i.e., Chad, Mauritania, Mali and Niger) exhibit the highest levels of religiosity. Iran, Afghanistan and Syria exhibit the highest levels of generosity. Four countries that experienced turmoil and riots during the Arab Spring (i.e., Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen) hardly justify the use of violence. We refer to these countries and Syria as the Main Insurgents. In these countries, a large share of the population finds it unjustifiable to use any kind of violence against civilians.

In our empirical analysis, we only consider two cultural traits that are highly correlated with economic development indicators, namely gender-egalitarian attitudes and religiosity. We conduct a set of fixed-effect logit regressions for several subsamples to identify the effect of cultural traits on migration aspirations. The full sample estimates show that aspirations to all destinations are negatively affected by the level of religiosity but are not influenced by gender-egalitarian views. When we distinguish between emigration aspirations to OECD and non-OECD member states, the results reveal that cultural traits are not significant for migration aspirations to non-OECD countries. In contrast, aspirations to migrate to an OECD destination decrease with religiosity, and increase with gender-egalitarian views. In other words, aspiring migrants to OECD destinations exhibit lower levels of religiosity than those who do not intend to migrate. Next, we check whether similar selection patterns apply to individuals who have concrete migration plans for the next 12 months. We find that the effect of religiosity is highly significant and even larger than for migration aspirations; the effect of gender-egalitarian views is insignificant.

We then conduct a large set of robustness checks. First, we split the set of OECD destinations into three subsets that are frequently reported as preferred destinations in the data, namely the European Union, North America and Turkey. The results confirm that the effect of gender-egalitarian views remains insignificant or marginally significant for all sets of destinations, while the effect of religiosity is highly significant when considering OECD, high-income destinations, but not when considering Turkey. Second, we split the sample along education levels, and show that our results are valid for all skill groups. Third, we distinguish between three age categories, gender groups and marital status. Selection by religiosity is significant for all age groups and is greater for men, while positive selection on gender-egalitarian views becomes significant for single women and for all individuals aged 15 to 30. This is the age group in which aspiring migrants are the most likely to realize their migration aspirations. Fourth, we checked whether the intensity of cultural selection varies with aggregate country characteristics such as the shares of Sunnis and Shiites among the Muslim population, the log-GDP per capita, two indicators of institutional quality, and the size of the migrant network in the OECD countries. Our regressions reveal that aspiring migrants from countries with a Sunni minority have more progressive gender-egalitarian views, which also become significant when controlling for migration networks. Seventh, we explored whether the link between cultural traits and migration has been affected by the Arab Spring. We consider the full sample of MENA countries, the Main Insurgents and the other countries. In all specifications, selection by religiosity is always positive and significant. Although the Arab Spring has not affected the intensity of cultural selection in the less affected countries, it has drastically reduced it in the Main Insurgent countries.

Methodologically speaking, we also explore whether our results are driven by differences in the composition of the samples of aspiring migrants and non-migrants. We use the Mahalanobis Metric Matching technique to construct samples of aspiring migrants and non-migrants that are balanced in terms of observable covariates. All conclusions of the benchmark regressions hold when using the matched samples.

We thus conclude that migrants from MENA to OECD exhibit lower levels of religiosity. Moreover, young male or female migrants share significantly more gender-egalitarian views than the rest of the population. Overall, the Arab Spring has increased the relative religiosity of aspiring migrants in the most affected countries. Consequently, emigration to OECD countries has direct implications on the distribution of cultural traits in the population left behind and on the cultural distance at destination. Nevertheless, the effects of cultural selection should not be overestimated. First, emigration hardly affects the distribution of cultural traits in the MENA countries. Emigration towards OECD countries could even reverse the selection effect if migrants abroad transfer more progressive norms and beliefs to their home country. Second, it has a limited (albeit non negligible) effect on the cultural distance between natives and immigrants in the OECD countries.