The politics of evidence-based policy in Europe’s ‘migration crisis’

Baldwin-Edwards, Martin, Blitz, Brad K. and Crawley, Heaven (2019) The politics of evidence-based policy in Europe’s ‘migration crisis’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 45 (12) . pp. 2139-2155. ISSN 1369-183X [Article] (doi:10.1080/1369183X.2018.1468307)

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Significant increases in the number of refugees and other migrants arriving across the Mediterranean to Europe during 2015 were associated with an increased emphasis on gathering research evidence to enable policymakers to better understand the complexities of migration and improve the policy response. In the UK, the emphasis on evidence-based policy was reflected in funding by the Economic and Social Research Council for a Mediterranean Migration Research Programme. Drawing on the evidence gathered through this programme, the articles in the volume explore the nature of Europe’s ‘migration crisis’ and the extent to which the development of new migration management policies was grounded in evidence about the causes, drivers and consequences of migration to Europe. The authors conclude that there is a substantial ‘gap’ between the now significant body of evidence examining migration processes and European Union policy responses. This gap can be attributed to three main factors: the long-standing ‘paradigm war’ in social research between positivist, interpretivist and critical approaches which means that what counts as ‘evidence’ is contested; competing knowledge claims associated with research and other forms of evidence including the management data to construct and/or support particular policy narratives; and, perhaps most importantly, the political context within which migration policymaking takes place. The politics of policymaking, perhaps nowhere more evident than in the area of migration, has resulted in policies based on underlying assumptions and vested political interests rather than the evidence, even where this evidence has been funded directly by European governments.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Social Policy Research Centre
Item ID: 24219
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies on 30/05/2018, available online:
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Depositing User: Brad Blitz
Date Deposited: 03 May 2018 15:16
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:53

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