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The Rise and Fall of Asylum: What Happened and Why?

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  • Timothy Hatton

Abstract

In the last 20 years, developed countries have struggled with what seemed to be an ever rising tide of asylum seekers, a trend that has now gone into reverse. This paper examines what happened and why. How have oppression, violence and economic conditions in origin countries shaped worldwide trends in asylum applications? And has the toughening of policy towards asylum seekers since 2001 reduced the numbers? What policies have been effective and which host countries have been most affected? This paper surveys the trends in asylum seeking since the 1980s and the literature that it has generated and it provides new regression estimates of the determinants of asylum applications up to the present. The key findings are first, that violence and terror can account for much of the variation across source countries and over time but it cannot fully explain the original surge in asylum applications during the 1980s. And second, while tougher policies did have a deterrent effect, they account for only about a third of the decline in applications since 2001.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Hatton, 2008. "The Rise and Fall of Asylum: What Happened and Why?," CEPR Discussion Papers 577, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:577
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP577.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ralph Rotte & Michael Vogler, 2000. "The effects of development on migration: Theoretical issues and new empirical evidence," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 13(3), pages 485-508.
    2. Eric Neumayer, 2003. "Bogus Refugees? The Determinants of Asylum Migration to Western Europe," Labor and Demography 0311002, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 19 May 2004.
    3. Timothy J. Hatton, 2004. "Seeking asylum in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 19(38), pages 5-62, April.
    4. Eric Neumayer, 2003. "Asylum Recognition Rates in Western Europe - Their Determinants, Variation and Lack of Convergence," Labor and Demography 0312004, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 02 Sep 2004.
    5. DeVoretz, Don J. & Pivnenko, Sergiy & Beiser, Morton, 2004. "The Economic Experiences of Refugees in Canada," IZA Discussion Papers 1088, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Timothy J. Hatton, 2005. "European Asylum Policy," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 194(1), pages 106-119, October.
    7. Joop Hartog & Aslan Zorlu, 2009. "How important is homeland education for refugees’ economic position in The Netherlands?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(1), pages 219-246, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    asylum; refugees; immigration policy;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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