Attracting and retaining expatriates in Qatar during an era of uncertainty: Would you stay or would you go?

Michael C. Ewers, Bethany Shockley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)


How do foreign workers navigate competing pressures when deciding to remain in a place or leave for a new destination? Here, we explore migration decision-making across a diverse set of migrant nationalities using an innovative survey experiment implemented in the Arab Gulf state of Qatar. Extending recent work that highlights the contribution of experiments to the study of complex migration decision-making choices, we employ a conjoint survey experiment that asks respondents whether they would remain in the country or seek to leave under randomised scenarios. Responses to conventional migration questions about past and future migration decisions are compared with experimental findings, covering a range of economic, social, and political factors. Both the conventional and experimental results are analysed across nationality subgroups. We find that local security and stability underpin both the reasons that migrants were attracted to Qatar and their propensities to leave, conditional on regional background. This has major implications for migrant decision-making calculus in light of regional economic and political deterioration. The results confirm the importance of a variety of economic factors for complex migration decision-making and suggest that survey experiments present a fruitful option for future research on this topic.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2134
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Issue number5
Early online date21 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • conjoint analysis
  • Middle East
  • migration
  • Qatar
  • survey experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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