​​Emerging MIGNEX insights on migration and inequality shared at IMISCOE 2023 ​

At IMISCOE 2023, MIGNEX shared early findings on the impacts of inequality on migration aspirations ahead of our upcoming paper on the Multi-level determinants of migration.

By Jessica Hagen-Zanker, Hannah Murray – Published on

​​​Last week, MIGNEX shared emerging findings on the links between migration and inequality at International Migration Research Network (IMISCOE), the largest interdisciplinary network of migration scholars.   

​Jessica Hagen-Zanker and Jørgen Carling chaired a panel on How inequalities influence migration aspirations, which centred on the findings of MIGNEX and two other large, comparative migration projects: Future Migration as Present Fact (Fumi) and Migration for Development and Equality (MIDEQ).  

​At this panel, Nicolás Caso and Mathias Czaika presented emerging MIGNEX findings on the role of household wealth and inequality at the research area level on migration aspirations. That is, whether people are more likely to want to leave if there are large differences between how poor and rich people are in their local area, and how that relationship is based on their own wealth level.  

​Based on multi-level analyses of 26 research areas in Africa and Asia, our early findings suggest that wealth inequality matters, but only for those in the top half of the income distribution. In other words, if a research area is more unequal, those better off tend to have greater aspirations to migrate. Aspirations to migrate are also highly dependent on the degree of inequality in each area, and people’s perceptions of household living standards.  

​Jessica Hagen-Zanker says: “While the links between migration and global inequalities are undeniable, they are complex, non-linear and not always well understood; limiting our ability to act on them effectively through policy.  

​Our findings make an important intervention here; challenging common perceptions of poverty as the major driver of migration decision-making. While this may be the case in some contexts, here we see that where inequality is high, those better off are actually more likely to aspire to move. 

​We look forward to building on these emerging insights, and publishing the findings in our upcoming paper - Multi-level determinants of migration - in October 2023.”

​Future MIGNEX findings 

​MIGNEX researchers are currently delving into the data to formulate new insights on the linkages between development and migration. Over the coming months, we will publish a number of Policy Briefs and longer-form Background Papers to further policy and knowledge in this area – and do keep an eye out for our final, landmark Reports as of February 2024.   

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mignex colleagues at IMISCOE
MIGNEX colleagues at IMISCOE 2023

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