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Rescue on Stage: Border Enforcement and Public Attention in the Mediterranean Sea

Giacomo Battiston ()
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Giacomo Battiston: University of Padova

No 292, "Marco Fanno" Working Papers from Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno"

Abstract: Irregular migrants take many risks when attempting to cross borders, and border enforcement policy has to balance deterrence and humanitarian motives. Exploiting georeferenced data on the universe of sea rescue operations for migrants crossing from Libya to Europe between 2014 and 2017, this paper makes three contributions. First, it shows that a more humanitarian rescue policy increases future crossing attempts. Second, it establishes that tougher border control increases the death risk for migrants. Third, it develops and estimates a dynamic model of border enforcement with endogenous public attention, which Iuse to obtain attention and policy counterfactuals. According to model results, temporary increases in public attention intensify incentives for rescuing migrants, and sample years policy was suboptimal in minimizing migrants’ deaths. Leveraging recent policy outsourcing border enforcement to Libyan authorities, I compute policymakers’ evaluation of irregularmigrants’ lives; this is an order of magnitude lower than comparable estimates for citizens.

Keywords: irregular migration; border control; search and rescue; public attention (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 68 pages
Date: 2022-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-int and nep-mig
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