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Digitalization and migration: the role of social media and migrant networks in migration decisions. An exploratory study in Nigeria

Chinedu Obi (Department of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University, Ghent Belgium and the Department of Agriculture Food and Environment, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy)
Fabio Bartolini (Department of Agriculture Food and Environment, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy)
Marijke D’Haese (Department of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University, Ghent Belgium)

Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance

ISSN: 2398-5038

Article publication date: 20 November 2020

Issue publication date: 21 June 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the connectivity between social media use, access to migrant networks, information asymmetry and migration intentions.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was conducted using data from individuals living in Nigeria and analysed with a generalized structural equation model, which is rare for this kind of research.

Findings

The authors find a dual mediating role of the social media and the migrant networks in facilitating migration, i.e. reducing the threshold cost required to migrate and introducing a bias in terms of information asymmetry. While social media and access to migrant networks directly increase migration intentions, this changes when incomplete information is provided. People who use social media and their migrant networks for information are more likely to have information about destination countries than information on the transit risk.

Social implications

The study adds valuable insights for designing awareness campaigns aimed at reducing irregular migration.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the understanding of the intersection of migration and digitalization

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The study was funded by the German Foreign Office through the German mission to Nigeria, and the University of Pisa’s special grant reserved for foreign doctoral researchers.

Citation

Obi, C., Bartolini, F. and D’Haese, M. (2021), "Digitalization and migration: the role of social media and migrant networks in migration decisions. An exploratory study in Nigeria", Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 5-20. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPRG-08-2020-0101

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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