Return Migration to Home Country: A Systematic Literature Review

Cecilia Fortunato , Sapienza University of Rome
Andrea Iacobucci, Regione Emila-Romagna

Migration studies have developed rapidly in recent decades, in terms of size, methods used, interdisciplinarity, heterogeneity of theoretical frameworks and internationalization of research groups. A crucial (and less developed) part of migration studies is the exploration of migrant’s further mobility and the intention of return to home country at some point in life. Knowing who, why and when returns matters for both the host and the home country and is even more relevant in times of crisis, as shown by the COVID-19 pandemic. Return decision making is a complex process, influenced by a variety of factors. Very few studies have focused on return in a wider perspective, adopting a comparative approach. The present study aims at providing a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature indexed on citation databases, in order to understand how return has been dealt with by researchers. The main objectives are: collecting and synthetizing previous studies; comparing approaches, conceptualizations of return, methods and variable of interest; integrating findings and perspectives; testing return theories against international migration theories and comparing the assumptions on which they rest. A bibliometric analysis on metadata and content analysis based on text mining and topic modelling techniques will be conducted on a sample of approximately 5,200 publications. With our contribute, we expect to implement a baseline for theoretical development and empirical research, presenting an overview on the evolution of trend topics, with regional and temporal patterns of research focus and identifying knowledge gaps in literature.

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 Presented in Session 79. Trends and patterns in international migration