European Political Science

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 79–98 | Cite as

measuring immigration policies: the IMPIC database

  • marc helbling
  • liv bjerre
  • friederike römer
  • malisa zobel


Despite a growing interest in migration questions, it is still not possible to systematically analyse immigration policies across time and a large number of countries. Most studies in this field have heretofore focussed on individual cases. Recently, there have been a series of studies that have proposed policy indices that allow for large-N analyses. It appears, however, that these studies have not always adequately addressed the main challenges of index building, that is, conceptualisation, measurement and aggregation. Moreover, they are for the most part limited to individual policy fields or there is a trade-off between the number of countries and years that are covered. The aim of this article is to present the Immigration Policies in Comparison (IMPIC) project, which proposes a new and comprehensive way to measure immigration regulations. The data set covers all major fields and dimensions of immigration policies for thirty-three OECD countries between 1980 and 2010. This article discusses the way immigration policies have been conceptualised, how policies have been measured and aggregated and demonstrates the potential of such a new data set.


immigration policy measurement aggregation 



First of all, the authors would like to thank all country and field experts who helped them with the conceptualisation of the data set and especially the collection of the data. Without their professional help this project would not have been possible. The authors also would like to thank all commentators at various conferences where they presented their project. The authors were especially grateful for the comments they received at various steps of this project from their colleagues at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and from international colleagues at the conference on ‘Causes and Consequences of Immigration and Citizenship Policies’ that they organised in Berlin in June 2014. Finally, the authors would like to thank Jonas Kahle, Andrea Pürckhauer, Hannah Schilling, Anne Bohm, Florian Eyert, Maren Hahnen, Dorina Kalkum, Gregory Kerr and Jakob Oxenius for their research assistance.


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Copyright information

© European Consortium for Political Research 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • marc helbling
    • 1
    • 2
  • liv bjerre
    • 2
  • friederike römer
    • 2
  • malisa zobel
    • 3
  1. 1.University of BambergBambergGermany
  2. 2.WZB Berlin Social Science CenterBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Europa University ViadrinaFrankfurt (Oder)Germany

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