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The link between corruption and the causes of migration and forced displacement

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The link between corruption and the causes of migration and forced displacement

4 July 2018

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(Merkle, O., Reinold, J., & Siegel, M. 2017. Maastricht: GIZ Anti-Corruption and Integrity Programme.)

This study explores direct and indirect ways that corruption affects migration – including forced displacement.

There is weak evidence that corruption is a direct driver of migration, although it can fuel migration desires among people ‘tired of the existing system and being treated unfairly.’ The evidence that corruption is an indirect push-factor for migration and driver of forced displacement is much stronger. Using the seven human security dimensions (personal, political, economic, community, environmental, food, and health), the study maps the possible ways in which corruption might indirectly shape migration aspirations and lead to displacement. The actual connections will be context specific.

In Mali and Ukraine, research findings suggest that the effect of corruption on lack of (good) employment opportunities and on aid resources were the most important links between corruption and the decision to migrate. The study includes a useful and very thorough annex of previous literature published on the following topics: corruption as a push factor for migration, corruption as a facilitator of (irregular) migration and the effects of migration and remittances on corruption levels in the host and home countries.


    All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

    This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)