#Portichiusi: the human costs of migrant deterrence in the Mediterranean


Using daily data on forced migration from the IOM, I compare trends in flows and mortality across three major migration routes in the Mediterranean, analysing the effects of the introduction of rescue-deterrence policies in Italy. Controlling for exogenous shocks which affect push and pull factors in mobility, along with sea state conditions and route-day fixed effects, I find that the reduction in refugee migration flows in the Central Mediterranean has been modest, at best. At the same time, these policies have generated a permanent increase in daily mortality rates in the Central Mediterranean, having grown by more than 4 deaths per day. Finally, I investigate whether variations in mortality are sufficient to offset migration flows. Increases in mortality rates, however, are only accompanied by a short-term negative displacement effect, as migration attempts are delayed by increases in absolute mortality, rather than being prevented.

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