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Research Colloquium on Migration Empirics SoSe 2020

SeminarMonday, 16.15-17.45, online (Zoom or Big Blue Button)
AudienceMSc/IMP (Econ. & Pol.)
ECTS4 or 6


Migration has become an increasingly important topic in the international political arena. Globalization processes make workers and students more mobile, and at the same time domestic and international conflicts as well as humanitarian and environmental catastrophes cause flows of refugees and asylum seekers. This seminar is conducted as a colloquium that relies on active participation and preparation. In the discussion, we will focus on critically assessing empirical methods and assumptions as well as implications. Current research will be critically assessed. In every class, we will discuss one or two articles that will be announced the week before. Connected to the required readings, student’s presentations on a related article will add another perspective. Preparing the required readings carefully and participating actively in the discussion in each class is mandatory.

By the end of the course, students will be familiar with empirical concepts and methods in the area of economics of migration, with a special focus on the identification of causal effects. Students will develop the ability to read and understand the content of scientific empirical papers and write (short) critical academic essays.

The lecture (Migration Economics) complements the seminar as it focuses on underlying theoretical concepts.

Preliminary Organization of the Course (different aspects can be added):

1. Introduction: Why do we study migration?
2. The Determinants of Migration: Why do people migrate?
3. Selection of Immigrants: Who Migrates?
4. Economic Assimilation: How do Migrants and their Children do?
5. Effects of Immigration on the destination country
6. Effects of Immigration on the source country

Course Assessment:

  1. Review report for one paper: Each student has to write a 1.500 word review on one paper covering two parts: i) Summary of the paper ii) critical evaluation. The latter should cover the following questions: Are there problems with the methodology? How general/important are the findings? Do we learn something new that we did not know before? How could the paper be improved or extended?
  2. Presentation in class or a second review paper (one of the two, registration for presentations in the first week: Presentations should address the same questions as the review paper. Length of presentation: 10-15 minutes. A one-page summary plus the slides need to be handed in the evening before the presentation. The focus is on how you transmit those main points to your audience.
  3. Participation in class.
  4. For 6 ECTS: two review papers and one presentation. Modalities see above.

Further information here.


  • Application until April 5th, 2021 (with the form and a transcript of records).
  • Withdrawal after April 19th, 2021 is not possible (or will be graded with a 5.0).
  • Registration for a presentation: April 12th-20th, 2021.
  • Submission of review reports: August 30th, 2021.
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