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Immigration policy and its impact a comparative study with a focus on Spain

Mahia, Ramon and de Arce, Rafael and Thielemann, Eiko (2010): Immigration policy and its impact a comparative study with a focus on Spain.

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Abstract

Immigration dynamics have varied across time and across countries and immigration flows can have a significant economic, social, political and cultural impact on host countries. The challenge for policy makers and academics is to better understand to what extent public policy decisions can influence migration flows and their impact. To address this research challenge, we need to advance a broader comparative research agenda that allows for a systematic comparison of immigration policy outputs (laws) and immigration policy outcomes (the impact of such laws). This report seeks to contribute to such a research agenda and the development of a corresponding methodological framework that would allow for such an empirical investigation. This report will first provide a historical overview of European migration trends that will set the Spanish experience in its broader context. The next part focuses on the evolution of Spanish immigration policy and its impact, and also provides an analytical summary of recent research identifies the limitations of existing research designs and proposes a broader comparative research agenda that would help the academic and policy- community deepen their understanding of the variation and differential immigration policies.

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