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Migrants at Sea: Unintended Consequences of Search and Rescue Operations

Claudio Deiana, Vikram Maheshri and Giovanni Mastrobuoni ()

No 636, Carlo Alberto Notebooks from Collegio Carlo Alberto

Abstract: The Central Mediterranean Sea is the world’s most dangerous crossing for irregular migrants. In response to mounting deaths, European nations intensified search and rescue operations in 2013. We develop a model of irregular migration to identify the effects of these operations. Leveraging plausibly exogenous variation from rapidly varying crossing conditions, we find that smugglers responded by sending boats in adverse weather and shifting from seaworthy boats to flimsy rafts. In doing so, these operations induced more crossings, ultimately offsetting their intended safety benefits. A more successful policy should restrict the supply of rafts and expand legal alternatives to irregular migration.

Keywords: Central Mediterranean sea crossings; international; undocumented; irregular migration; search and rescue operations; rubber boats; deaths. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F22 H12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: pages 58
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mig
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Working Paper: Migrants at Sea: Unintended Consequences of Search and Rescue Operations (2021) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cca:wpaper:636

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