MAFE Working Paper n.34 “The ImPol Database: A New Tool to Measure Immigration Policies in France, Italy and Spain since the 1960s” by Cora Mezger and Amparo González Ferrer
Abstract: In this Working Paper we present a new database (ImPol) containing information that allows for the construction of quantitative indicators to measure the entry dimension of immigration policies that are comparable over time and across countries. The main goal of the paper is to document the dataset and to explain each of the steps we took in order to convert the qualitative information contained in various legal texts dealing with admission policies into quantitative data. The chosen approach, which relies on legal texts (policy inputs) rather than on policy outputs such as the number of visa applications1, also represents a contribution to the methodological discussion about challenges in constructing policy measures that has already received considerable attention in the area of measuring migrant integration policies (e.g., Migration Integration Policy Index (MIPEX); Citzenship Rights (Koopmans et al., 2012); the Support and Opposition to Migration (SOM) project). There have also been previous efforts in the area of immigration policies. The work on the ImPol database builds on Mayda and Patel (2004) and Ortega and Peri (2009) who collected information on a limited number of laws for 14 OECD countries covering the period 1980 to 2005. While changes over time can be analysed with these indicators, policy restrictiveness cannot be compared across countries, and only major changes in laws were considered. More recently, a large-scale project based on the analysis of legal texts, the “International Migration Policy and Law Analysis” (IMPALA) database project, has been initiated by a consortium of universities. It is currently still in the pilot phase.
The ImPol dataset was originally conceived as a tool to complement the individual survey data collection carried out in the context of the MAFE-Senegal Project. For this reason, the information collected so far is limited to France, Italy, and Spain, which are the main destinations of Senegalese migrants in Europe, and focuses predominantly on the period from the 1960s until 2008. The legal texts consulted reflect the general policy regime in the three European countries and are hence of use for analyses addressing questions about immigration from a variety of origin countries. In addition, we collected texts (bilateral agreements) addressing the specific case of the Senegalese. The type of information contained in the ImPol dataset can be used for a wide range of both contextual and statistical analyses. In addition, the dataset largely remains as work in progress, since both new indicators and new destination countries can be added to the existing one.Full Working Paper