28 Jul 2022

Developments along the route

The role of transit countries in shaping mixed-migration flows to Europe

Mattia Di Salvo / Alexandre Ounnas / Doina Postica

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Push and pull factors shaping migration flows have been extensively covered in empirical research. However, while international migration can be largely thought of as a phenomenon involving only two countries (one of origin and one of destination), developments in countries along the migration routes (i.e. transit countries) can have an important role in affecting migration flows.

While different qualitative studies on specific dyads of transit and origin countries exist, quantitative assessments accounting for the role of developments along the route are scarce. This study tries to expand the literature by taking a general and data-driven approach covering all major origin countries of mixed-migration flows to the EU, as well as the main migration routes.

Across several specifications tested, findings show how some factors are more significant than others in affecting the number of crossings. Violent events due to conflict, and large-scale disasters due to natural events, are always found to increase mixed-migration flows. More importantly, their effect is larger when they take place along the route than at origin.

Monitoring these developments can provide insights about sudden and/or growing movements of people along the main routes to the EU. Future research could investigate the use of other types of data (e.g. surveys, big data) to monitor for changing intentions and length of stay in transit countries.

This Report falls within the scope of the ITFLOWS H2020 project which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 882986. The ITFLOWS outputs reflect only the author’s view and therefore the Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.