International Handbook on the Economics of Migration
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International Handbook on the Economics of Migration

Edited by Amelie F. Constant and Klaus F. Zimmermann

Migration economics is a dynamic, fast-growing research area with significant and rising policy relevance. While its scope is continually extending, there is no authoritative treatment of its various branches in one volume. Written by 44 leading experts in the field, this carefully commissioned and refereed Handbook brings together 28 state-of-the-art chapters on migration research and related issues.
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Chapter 6: Human smuggling

Guido Friebel and Sergei Guriev


While of increasing empirical importance, the phenomenon of human smuggling in illegal migration has only recently received notable attention in academics. A search reveals that among the more than 20 000 hits for ‘human smuggling’ almost all stem from the late 1990s or later. Economics has been quiet about smuggling and illegal migration until recently, while scholars in law, criminology, sociology, political science and demography have discovered the topic somewhat earlier (for example, Salt, 2000; Salt and Stein, 1997). Illegal migration, in contrast, has been an important topic in economics for quite a while, at least since Ethier’s (1986) analysis of the host country’s problem and Djajic’s (1987) two-country model of illegal migration. These models are very informative on a macro level and they point to important institutional determinants of illegal migration such as the structure of the host country’s labor market.

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