The Mobility of Migration Policies
States are constantly interacting with each other through migration flows, whereby migration policy measures can entail implications across borders. For instance, if a state tightens its asylum practices, there may be incentives for refugees to apply for asylum elsewhere. In this case, one state's asylum policy alters the migration-related situation of other states that may subsequently adjust their asylum practices as well.
Based on this observation, the project addresses the following questions: Is the regulation of migration in one state/canton influenced by migration policies in other states/cantons? How exactly does this influence take place?
Through the development of a coherent theoretical framework and various empirical studies, the project contributes to a better understanding of current migration and asylum policies at different levels (in Switzerland, Europe and globally). It particularly examines how policymakers in certain countries and cantons are influenced by policies in other countries and cantons.
The project develops an ambitious theoretical framework to explain how states influence each other in the field of migration policies. In doing so, the project team draws on established concepts from the literature on policy analysis and international relations. Based on this, various diffusion mechanisms are derived that describe how policy regulations in one state (or canton) influence regulations in another state (or canton). We particularly extend existing fragmented theoretical diffusion mechanisms to a comprehensive and coherent concept of systematically distinguishable mechanisms.
Survey experiment among members of cantonal parliaments
In this part of the project, we address the question of how political actors learn from each other across cantonal borders in the field of migration. Based on the literature on policy analysis, the study elaborates four different forms of learning: instrumental, ideological, normative and epistemic learning.
In the context of this study, the research team conducted an online survey among members of parliament in the German-speaking and French-speaking parts of Switzerland from April 12 to June 27, 2021.The experimental design of the survey allowed us to collect information on the extent to which members of cantonal parliaments inform themselves about political measures in the field of migration in other cantons and to what extent this influences their political behavior.
In the next empirical studies, we focus on the diffusion of the principle of classifying states as “Safe Countries of Origin” or “Safe Third Countries”.
The spread of the concepts of "Safe Countries of Origin" and "Safe Third Countries"
The concepts of “Safe Countries of Origin” and “Safe Third Countries” hold a central position in the asylum policies of states. The concept of Safe Countries of Origin allows states to reject asylum applications from refugees in an accelerated procedure if they come from countries of origin that are classified as safe. Based on the Safe Third Country principle, the responsibility for conducting asylum procedures and for a possible granting of protection can be transferred to third countries. Thereby, different types of the Safe Third Country principle can be distinguished, that differ in the quality and the necessity of the connection of refugees to the third country.
Based on an analysis of the asylum and migration legislation of 195 countries, a global dataset (Safe Country Policies Dataset SACOP) was created, that reveals the application and spread of the Safe Country of Origin and Third Country principle between 1951 and 2021. The dataset also shows how nation-state regulations of asylum procedures spread globally before states limited their responsibilities toward refugees by applying the Safe Country of Origin and the Safe Third Country principle. Due to its comprehensive temporal and geographical span, the dataset is able to trace developments in asylum law and policy across the Global North and the Global South.
Access to the dataset is available here.
An interactive visualization of the dataset can be accessed here.
Spatial econometric analyses
In a further step, we use the created dataset to tackle the following questions: How has the concept of Safe Countries of Origin and Safe Third Countries spread globally? Is the introduction of these concepts the result of diffusion processes in which countries influence each other in shaping their policies? Through what specific mechanisms have they spread? To answer these questions, we rely on spatial econometric models. In addition to our own SACOP dataset, accurate indicators are used to capture diffusion mechanisms.
In case studies, we seek to gain a nuanced understanding of the mechanisms through which the concepts of Safe Countries of Origin and Safe Third Countries have diffused. We focus on three countries that have played an important international or regional role in the application and diffusion of these concepts: Switzerland, Denmark, and South Africa.
By researching in national archives, evaluating parliamentary minutes, and interviewing experts, we address the following questions, among others: What role did the policies of other states play in the introduction of these concepts in Switzerland, Denmark, and South Africa? What consequences does the application of these concepts have for refugees, other states and international refugee policy?
The research project is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (project number: 182897) for the project duration from September 2018 to May 2022 as part of the research focus “On the move - Between migration and mobility”.
Prof. Dr. Joachim Blatter
Prof. Dr. Fabrizio Gilardi
Prof. Dr. Nenad Stonanović (associated Assistant Professor)
Dr. des. Lea Portmann
Dr. Samuel D. Schmid
Cecilie Odgaard Jakobsen
Melyssa Piña Sigg
Blatter, Joachim, Lea Portmann, and Frowin Rausis. 2021. „Theorizing Policy Diffusion: From a Patchy Set of Mechanisms to a Paradigmatic Typology“. Journal of European Public Policy. https://doi.org/10.1080/13501763.2021.1892801
Lutz, Philipp, and Lea Portman. 2021. “Why do States Admit Refugees? A Comparative Analysis of Resettlement Policies in OECD Countries”. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2021.1999222
Rausis, Frowin. 2022. Safe County Policies Dataset (SACOP) (Version 1.1) [Data set]. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5886863
Rausis, Frowin, and Paula Hoffmeyer-Zlotnik. 2021. “Contagious Policies? Studying National Responses to a Global Pandemic in Europe”. Swiss Political Science Review. https://doi.org/10.1111/spsr.12450
Rausis, Frowin. Forthcoming. “The Global Spread of Safe Country Policies: Introducing the SACOP Dataset”. nccr – on the move Working Paper Series.