The IMPALA Database

Governments adopt a variety of approaches to regulating immigration, and make adjustments to these policies frequently. But currently there exist no comprehensive, cross-nationally comparable data on immigration policies and how they have changed over time. This is a major problem for ongoing research on the determinants and impacts of immigration laws and policies. The IMPALA database project project is aimed at addressing this problem by compiling and analyzing comparable data on immigration laws and policies over 25 recipient countries from 1960 until the present, with annual updates to follow. IMPALA involves nearly a dozen political scientists, economists, sociologists, and legal scholars from Harvard University, the London School of Economics, the University of Luxembourg, the University of Amsterdam, the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, and the University of Sydney.

The IMPALA project is examining all major categories of immigration law and policy, covering the acquisition of citizenship, economic migration, family reunification, asylum and refugee protection, students, and policies relating to undocumented migration and border control. National regulations are coded for each recipient country annually to generate comparable measures, including indexes of the restrictiveness of each country’s laws and policies and measures of the extent to which regulations favor particular categories of immigrants defined by occupational skills, education, ethnicity, and gender. For more information, please see the short summary, or the longer background description, or visit the IMPALA Database Project Website.

THIS PROJECT IS CURRENTLY BEING IMPLEMENTED. Please check back soon as we will be posting new papers. Note: We are also developing two new complementary projects: a database on sending country emigration policies (joint with researchers at the World Bank) and a database on US state and local regulations affecting immigrants (joint with researchers at the University of Texas at Austin).