|Using an interpretable Machine Learning approach to study the drivers of International Migration||240 KB|
Globally increasing migration pressures call for new modelling approaches in order to design effective policies. It is important to have not only efficient models to predict migration flows but also to understand how specific parameters influence these flows. In this paper, we propose an artificial neural network (ANN) to model international migration. Moreover, we use a technique for interpreting machine learning models, namely Partial Dependence Plots (PDP), to show that one can well study the effects of drivers behind international migration. We train and evaluate the model on a dataset containing annual international bilateral migration from 1960 to 2010 from 175 origin countries to 33 mainly OECD destinations, along with the main determinants as identified in the migration literature. The experiments carried out confirm that: 1) the ANN model is more efficient w.r.t. a traditional model, and 2) using PDP we are able to gain additional insights on the specific effects of the migration drivers. This approach provides much more information than only using the feature importance information used in previous works.
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