Decision-Making Under Uncertainty: African Migrants in the Spotlight

  • Didier Ruedin
  • Social Inclusion, March 2021, Cogitatio
  • DOI: 10.17645/si.v9i1.4076

We can better understand how people make decisions by studying migrants

Photo by Aleksandra Boguslawska on Unsplash

Photo by Aleksandra Boguslawska on Unsplash

What is it about?

This is the introduction to a thematic issue on decision-making. Like the articles in the issue, the introduction asks how people make decisions when they only have limited information, or when the information available to them is contradictory. Looking at migrants and migration decisions, we can better understand how such decision-making works. We find different heuristics to decide under uncertainty -- just like motives, ambitions, and capabilities to migrate vary. Narratives are a common heuristic that help migrants navigate a world full of uncertainties. We observe much agency among migrants to pursue migration plans: they adjust to changing circumstances. Rather than think of singular migration decisions, we should think of decision-making as chains of multiple decisions.

Why is it important?

Academics and policy-makers continue to draw on assumptions how migrants decide to migrate, leading to inadequate policy decisions. More broadly, studying migrants allows us to study decision-making processes that are otherwise subtle and hidden.

Perspectives

Didier Ruedin
Universite de Neuchatel

Editing this thematic issue made me reflect on knowledge production: so many things we (could) know in principle, but apparently it's easier to rely on assumptions than check...

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http://dx.doi.org/10.17645/si.v9i1.4076

The following have contributed to this page: Didier Ruedin