LAC Main Seminar Series: Policy Preferences in Response to Large Migration Flows

Convener: Professor David Doyle

Speaker: Isabel Ruiz (Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford)




What are the preferred policy responses of host country residents to large migration inflows, and to what extent are these preferences driven by contact with migrants as well as values such as humanitarianism? This paper addresses these questions using new data on preferences of Colombians for responding to the large inflow of Venezuelans into their country. In a conjoint survey experiment, respondents selected and rated different policy packages comprising variations in six policy dimensions: (1) labour market access, (2) location restrictions, (3) public service access, (4) family reunification, (5) numerical limits, and (6) length of residency. The results suggest support for the options of conditional access to the labour market (i.e., only in certain occupations) or full free access to the alternative of no access. There is support for unrestricted location choices and access to public services, as well as conditional rights to family reunification (i.e., only if able to support dependants). Respondents also support the use of numerical limits and limiting the length of the residency permit. The results show that those who have less contact with Venezuelans, those who put more weight on economic priorities, and those who see the situation in Venezuela as mainly an economic problem, tend to support policies that are more restrictive.


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Isabel Ruiz is a Fellow in Economics at Harris Manchester College and an Adjunct Faculty member at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. She is Associate Editor for the Oxford Review of Economic Policy (OXREP) and the co-convener of the Economics of Forced Migration Project (Econforced). Isabel’s research interests are broadly in labour, development and political economy. Her most recent work draws from these three areas and focuses particularly on the economics of migration - with an emphasis on forced migration and she has published widely in this area. Isabel is also a Fellow at the International Migration Institute (IMI) at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, and a Global Labor Organization (GLO) Fellow. She is also an affiliate of the Latin American Centre at Oxford.