François Libois (PSE) and Irène Hu (PSE)
Man Overboard! Industrial Fishing as Driver of Out-Migration in Africa
Environmental drivers of migration attract more and more attention. This article focuses on the effect of fish stock depletion on migration in Africa and uses a novel dataset on fishing intensity (Kroodsma et al., 2018). Based on a panel of the 37 African countries with access to the sea over the period 2012-2018, we show that within country variation in fishing intensity increases migration to OECD countries. We find strong evidence that the competition created by industrial fishing vessels overfishing African seas and depleting fish stocks, increase the number of asylum seekers to OECD in general and of male asylum seekers to European OECD countries in particular. A 1% increase in the previous year's fishing effort along an African country's coast increases the number of asylum seekers towards the OECD by 0.05% and by 0.06% the number of male asylum seekers to European OECD countries. We then show that findings at the macro level are consistent in terms of mechanisms with micro level estimates using household level demographic data.