Dynamic panel data evidence on the drivers of irregular migration: The case of Korean immigration

by Bilol Buzurukov


The purpose of this study is to identify, using a dynamic panel data framework, the drivers of irregular migration among foreign residents in the Republic of Korea. The ratio of irregular to total migrants in Korea, which varies considerably across countries of origin, is the dependent variable in our balanced panel data model. The dataset covers a total of 87 sending countries for the 2003-2013 period. The model is stratified by gender and, using the generalized method of moments (GMM) approach, is run against 15 explanatory variables that are constructed as proxies for the potential determinants of irregular migration as suggested in the prevailing theories of migration. Overall, the results of our panel regressions are consistent with the predictions of the international migration theories and provide support to the survey-based empirical findings of previous studies on irregular migration.