Mobility hub or hollow? Cross-border travelling in the Mediterranean, 1995–2016
GB : Blackwell Publishing
mobility, travel flows, Mediterranean area
The Mediterranean is often portrayed as a hub of human mobility. In this article, we test this widespread view by exploring the structure of travel flows in the region over the last two decades (1995–2016). We find that mobility is much higher and increasing more strongly along the northern than along the southern shore, thus creating a growing mobility divide. South‐north and north‐south movements are even scarcer and stagnate or even decline over time. With a Gini coefficient of .87, mobility flows are distributed extremely unequally across country pairs in the Mediterranean. Community detection algorithms reconfirm that mobility predominantly takes place in disparate clusters around the Mediterranean, not across it. These findings imply that a ‘neo‐Braudelian’ view of the Mediterranean as a mobility hub is less justified than a ‘Rio Grande’ perspective that conceives of the Mediterranean as a mobility hollow. Multivariate regression models for network data suggest that geographical distance and, to a lesser extent, political visa regulations, explain the unequal mobility structure better than differences in economic well‐being.