Assumptions about the factors influencing migrant decision-making often underpin policy responses to migration. This is reflected in a growing trend towards preventive and restrictive migration policies aiming to address the ‘root causes’ of migration.

Migrant decision-making is not a straightforward process. Whilst the economic, social and political aspects of migrant decision-making are fairly well understood, understanding of the role that migration policies, social policy and development policies play in migrant decision-making in the Global South remains limited. The role of less tangible factors - from attitudes to inequality, perceptions of risk, and religion - are also underexplored.

Our research examines:

  • The socio-psychological, subjective, emotional, cognitive and behavioural aspects of decision-making.
  • The ways in which domestic and donor development and social policy interventions influence migrants’ decisions to move or stay, how to migrate and where to go.
  • The ways in which migrant journeys and experiences shape migrant decision-making including the ways in which access to rights, works and services, social networks and ‘luck’ (good or bad) shape the decision to stay, move on or return.