Follow the Money: tracing the operations of the International Organization for Migration, 1998 to 2015

Authors: Josh Watkins*, Texas A&M University , Kira Williams, Wilfrid Laurier University
Topics: Migration, Political Geography
Keywords: refugees, migration, borders, intergovernmental organizations, International Organization for Migration
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Studio 10, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Despite the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) importance to global migration governance, little research exists documenting the operations of the IOM. In this paper, we construct and analyze a database of IOM activities from 1998 to 2015, paying specific attention to IOM operations targeting asylum seekers and refugees. Building our database from primary source IOM documents, we provide a systematic accounting of the IOM’s funding, assets and expenditure over a global geography. We then conduct descriptive, spatial and time-series modelling to identify the distribution of IOM operations over time, space, by funding source and activity type. Using these measures, we find that the IOM’s activities have significantly grown since 1998 in intensity, geographic scale, and scope for particular types of border enforcement and migration management projects. These findings establish a basis for empirically mapping the operations of IOM and the global governance of migration more broadly.

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