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Internal migration in Kazakhstan

New Institutionalism and Bayesian Networks: Establishing an analytical framework to model migration decision making in rural Kazakhstan

Thematic complex:
Livelihoods in rural areas
Project duration:
01.04.2015 - 31.12.2018
Investigated countries:

There is no comprehensive migration theory available for the analysis of migratory processes. Thus, middle-range theories ought to integrate insights from various social sciences into a unifying analytical framework. We suggest using the theory of New Institutionalism as a middle-range theory for the investigation of migration decision making. New Institutionalism connects different levels of analysis, and the theory is based at the junction of political science, sociology and economics. Methodologically, this calls for an analytical instrument to model factors at different levels simultaneously. Thus, Bayesian Networks are used as an instrument to capture the complexity of migration decision making. In so doing, the depth and breadth of cross-linkages within the migration decision making process are revealed. Moreover, this instrument provides new insights into how migration processes can be influenced. Regionally, the research focuses on Kazakhstan, centering on the under-researched area of internal migration movements. By applying a new analytical framework and methodology in a migratory-dynamic region we are advancing basic migration research at the theoretical, methodological and empirical levels.

Project partners



Dufhues, T., Buchenrieder, G., Runschke, D., Schmeidl, S., Herzfeld, T.  & Sagyndykova, G. (2021). Unpacking the complexity of migrant agency in an institutional context – An exploration of the Akmola-Astana migration system. Europe-Asia Studies (accepted for publication).

Dufhues, T., Runschke, D., Buchenrieder, G. & Sagyndykova, G. (2021). Rural-urban migration and remittances in the Akmola province (Northern Kazakhstan) 2017 [database]. Collection: IAMO - Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies. GESIS Data Archive. Cologne, Germany.

Dufhues, T., Buchenrieder, G. & Sun, Z. (2021). Exploring policy options in regulating rural–urban migration with a Bayesian network: A case study in Kazakhstan. The European Journal of Development Research, 33(3), 553-577.

Dufhues, T., Möllers, J., Traikova, D., Buchenrieder, G. & Runschke, D. (2021). Why villagers stay put–A structural equation model on staying intentions. Journal of Rural Studies, 81(January), 345-357.

Buchenrieder, G., Dufhues, T., Möllers, J., Runschke, D. & Sagyndykova, G. (2020). Return to the countryside: The return intentions of highly educated young people in the Akmola province of northern Kazakhstan. Population, Space and Place, 26(2), 1-14.


		Prof. Dr. Thomas Herzfeld

Prof. Dr. Thomas Herzfeld

Director of IAMO,
Head of Department Agricultural Policy
Room: 117

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Project Staff

Dr. Thomas Dufhues
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Prof. Dr. Gertrud Buchenrieder (Project leader)

David Runschke

Prof. Dr. Thomas Herzfeld (Project leader)
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