Foreign Assistance and Migration Choices: Disentangling the Channels


  • Lanati
  • M.
  • Thiele
  • R.
Publication Date


At least since the large refugee movements to the EU in 2015, many policymakers see foreign aid as a means to stem migrant inflows. Yet, little is known about the mechanisms through which foreign aid might affect migration decisions. To this end, we run gravity-type regressions for the aid categories proposed by Clemens et al. (2012): (i) short-impact aid that may generate income growth in the short to medium term, and (ii) late-impact aid that affects non-monetary dimensions of well-being such as the quality of public services but may lead to higher incomes only in the long run. We find a strongly negative impact of late-impact aid, which suggests that donors may be able to dampen migrant inflows by focusing on improved public services.

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JEL Classification
F22, F35, O15