PACES offers a groundbreaking approach to studying and understanding people’s decisions to migrate and explores how this knowledge can better inform migration policies. PACES focuses on two parallel research components: the factors shaping migration decision-making and the mechanisms underpinning migration policies. Synthesizing theoretical and empirical knowledge from a broad array of academic disciplines and methodological paradigms, the project systematically investigates the interactions between migration decisions, migration policies and broader social transformation – as manifested in interconnected processes of economic, political, demographic, technological and cultural change. Based on a theoretical synthesis and qualitative and quantitative data collected in Algeria, Ethiopia, Italy, Libya, Slovakia and Spain, PACES will elaborate a heuristic model that identifies different constellations of conditions that shape decisions to stay and migrate at different stages of individual life trajectories and migrant journeys. In addition, by adopting a theories of change approach, PACES will systematically investigate, identify and track the assumptions on migration decisions used by policymakers to formulate policy designs and objectives. By exploring the evolution of EU and national labour and family migration policies, PACES reveals the extent to which current migration policies are evidence-based and areas where policies may benefit from valuable insights from migration decision-making research. By doing so, PACES seeks to challenge dominant political narratives and assumptions underlying policies and contribute to elaborating more effective models of EU migration governance that account for the uncertainties of social transformations. Supported by an interdisciplinary consortium of experienced partners, PACES engages in co-participatory research with policymakers, stakeholders, citizens and migrants to generate maximum scientific, political and social impact.
The PACES project relies on a wide range of methodological approaches. In the first phase of the research project, we conduct a meta-analysis and develop a conceptual framework (WP2), which will be instrumental for the activities in the next work packages. WP3 will map migration policies and initiatives and conceptually and empirically summarize theories of change in the migration policy-making process. It also includes the use of "lab-in-the-field" experiments in six EU countries to measure more precisely the preferences of individuals towards migration policies. WP4 and WP5 are based on data collection through semi-structured interviews with different African migrants and home communities, on entry into the EU as well as on their migration journey, in order to map the factors that influence individual decisions regarding the migration journey. In the final work packages, among other methods, we will use a QCA analysis to determine the synergy of various factors in influencing migration decisions. In cooperation with stakeholders we will also define migration scenarios in the context of the findings of the PACES project.