Mobility hub or hollow? Cross-border travelling in the Mediterranean, 1995–2016

New openAcess by Emanuel Deutschmann (Georg-August University Gottingen), Ettore Recchi (Migration Policy Centre, EUI) and Federica Bicchi (GGP, European University Institute). By exploring the structure of travel flows in the region over the last two decades (1995–2016), the authors find that mobility is much higher and increasing more strongly along the northern than along the southern shore, thus creating a growing mobility divide. South–north and north–south movements are even scarcer and stagnate or even decline over time. With a Gini coefficient of .87, mobility flows are distributed extremely unequally across country pairs in the Mediterranean. Community detection algorithms reconfirm that mobility predominantly takes place in disparate clusters around the Mediterranean, not across it. These findings imply that a ‘neo-Braudelian’ view of the Mediterranean as a mobility hub is less justified than a ‘Rio Grande’ perspective that conceives of the Mediterranean as a mobility hollow. Multivariate regression models for network data suggest that geographical distance and,  to  a  lesser  extent,  political  visa  regulations,  explain  the  unequal  mobility  structure better than differences in economic well-being.

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