Guido Friebel, Miriam Manchin, Mariapia Mendola, Giovanni Prarolo, 02 February 2019

There is a general understanding that illegal migration only exists because of the smuggling industry. However, there is no reliable information on how migrants’ intent to leave their home country and come to Europe, for example, depends on the availability of smuggling services. This column uses data on migrant flows arriving at European borders after the effective opening to Libyan refugees of the central Mediterranean migration route, following the 2011 fall of the Gaddafi regime, to estimate the supply elasticity of the lucrative smuggling industry. Findings indicate that when the smuggling distance between country-pairs gets shorter, there is an increase in individual intentions to migrate.

Tito Boeri, 29 April 2011

Lampedusa is a small Italian island close to Tunisia. A recent influx of migrants has prompted Messrs Berlusconi and Sarkozy to call for a temporary suspension of the free mobility from countries receiving large waves of refugees and illegal migrants. This column argues that such a step would be madness. The EU needs more mobility, not less.

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