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Keywords:

  • Bayesian modelling;
  • constitutional referendum;
  • migration;
  • Scotland;
  • time series;
  • uncertainty

ABSTRACT

Migration to and from Scotland might be affected by the outcome of the 2014 Scottish referendum on the constitutional future of the United Kingdom. This potential change in migration has not been thoroughly analysed to date. The aim of this paper is thus to present a set of predictions of the possible effects of Scottish independence on internal and international migration. In particular, different sources of uncertainty of future migration flows are examined. The presented forecasts are based on the available historical data on migration flows, as well as on the opinions of a panel of experts on future migration trends. Bayesian statistical inference is used to combine different sources of uncertainty in a coherent manner. The results indicate that there is substantial uncertainty about future migration to and from Scotland, which increases with the forecast horizon. The most uncertain flow is international immigration to Scotland. Emigration from Scotland is more likely than not to increase in the near future, whereas migration between Scotland and the rest of the UK is expected to remain at similar levels to the present, irrespective of the outcome of the 2014 independence referendum. © 2014 The Authors. Population, Space and Place Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.