The politics of evidence-based policy in Europe’s ‘migration crisis’

Martin Baldwin-Edwards, Brad Blitz, Heaven Crawley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Increased migration across the Mediterranean to Europe during 2015 was associated with growing interest in generating new research evidence to assist policymakers in understanding the complexities of migration and improve policy responses. In the UK, this was reflected in funding by the Economic and Social Research Council for a Mediterranean Migration Research Programme. Drawing on evidence from the programme, this volume explores the nature of Europe’s ‘migration crisis’ and the extent to which the development of new migration management policies was grounded in evidence about the causes, drivers and consequences of migration to Europe. The authors conclude that there is a substantial ‘gap’ between the now significant body of evidence examining migration processes and European Union policy responses. This gap is attributed to three main factors: the long-standing ‘paradigm war’ in social research between positivist, interpretivist and critical approaches which means that what counts as ‘evidence’ is contested; competing knowledge claims associated with research and other forms of evidence used to construct and/or support policy narratives; and, perhaps most importantly, the politics of policymaking, which has resulted in policies based on underlying assumptions and vested interests rather than research evidence, even where this evidence is funded directly by European governments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2139-2155
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number12
Early online date30 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2019


  • Europe
  • evidence-based policy
  • migration
  • politics
  • research
  • Policy formulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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  • Research Output

    • 15 Citations
    • 2 Article
    • 1 Book
    • 1 Other report
    Open Access
  • 5 Citations (Scopus)
    6 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 130 Citations (Scopus)
    255 Downloads (Pure)

    Unravelling Europe's 'Migration Crisis': Journeys Over Land and Sea

    Crawley, H., Franck, D., Jones, K., McMahon, S. & Sigona, N., 13 Dec 2017, Bristol: Policy Press. 200 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

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