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The Violent Legacy of Victimization: Post-Conflict Evidence on Asylum Seekers, Crimes and Public Policy in Switzerland

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  • Couttenier, Mathieu
  • Preotu, Veronica
  • Rohner, Dominic
  • Thoenig, Mathias

Abstract

We study empirically how past exposure to conflict in origin countries makes migrants more violent prone in their host country, focusing on asylum seekers in Switzerland. We exploit a novel and unique dataset on all crimes reported in Switzerland by nationalities of perpetrators and victims over the period 2009-2012. Causal analysis relies on the fact that asylum seekers are exogenously allocated across the Swiss territory by the federal administration. Our baseline result is that cohorts exposed to civil conflicts/mass killings during childhood are on average 40 percent more prone to violent crimes than their co-nationals born after the conflict. The effect is stable through the lifecycle and is attenuated for women, for property crimes and for low-intensity conflicts. Further, a bilateral crime regression shows that conflict exposed cohorts have a higher propensity to target victims from their own nationality --a piece of evidence that we interpret as persistence in intra-national grievances. Last, we exploit cross-region heterogeneity in public policies within Switzerland to document which integration policies are able to mitigate the detrimental effect of past conflict exposure on violent criminality. In particular, we find that offering labor market access to asylum seekers eliminates all the effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Couttenier, Mathieu & Preotu, Veronica & Rohner, Dominic & Thoenig, Mathias, 2016. "The Violent Legacy of Victimization: Post-Conflict Evidence on Asylum Seekers, Crimes and Public Policy in Switzerland," CEPR Discussion Papers 11079, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11079
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    Cited by:

    1. Dominic Rohner, 2018. "Success Factors for Peace Treaties: A Review of Theory and Evidence," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 18.08, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    2. repec:oup:ecpoli:v:32:y:2017:i:91:p:497-550. is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Dagnelie, Olivier & Mayda, Anna Maria & Maystadt, Jean-François, 2019. "The labor market integration of refugees in the United States: Do entrepreneurs in the network help?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 257-272.
    4. Mathieu Couttenier & Sophie Hatte & Mathias Thoenig & Stephanos Vlachos, 2019. "The Logic of Fear: Populism and Media Coverage of Immigrant Crimes," Working Papers halshs-02095658, HAL.
    5. Christian Dustmann & Francesco Fasani & Tommaso Frattini & Luigi Minale & Uta Schönberg, 2017. "On the economics and politics of refugee migration," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 32(91), pages 497-550.
    6. repec:zbw:medamr:182239 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Selim Gulesci, 2017. "Forced migration and attitudes towards domestic violence: Evidence from Turkey," WIDER Working Paper Series 110, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Bansak, Cynthia & Pozo, Susan, 2018. "Refugee Admissions and Public Safety: Are Refugee Settlement Areas More Prone to Crime?," IZA Discussion Papers 11612, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Slotwinski, Michaela & Stutzer, Alois & Uhlig, Roman, 2018. "Are asylum seekers more likely to work with more inclusive labor market access regulations?," Working papers 2018/08, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    civil conflict; mass killing; migration; persistence of violence; refugees; violent crime;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • Z18 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Public Policy

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