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

  • Hatton, Timothy J.

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.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6752.

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Date of creation: Mar 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6752
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  1. Timothy J. Hatton, 2004. "Seeking asylum in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 19(38), pages 5-62, 04.
  2. Joop Hartog & Aslan Zorlu, 2009. "How important is homeland education for refugees’ economic position in The Netherlands?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 219-246, January.
  3. Hatton, Timothy J., 2005. "European Asylum Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 1721, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Eric Neumayer, 2003. "Asylum Recognition Rates in Western Europe - Their Determinants, Variation and Lack of Convergence," Labor and Demography 0312004, EconWPA, 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. Eric Neumayer, 2003. "Bogus Refugees? The Determinants of Asylum Migration to Western Europe," Labor and Demography 0311002, EconWPA, revised 18 Feb 2004.
  7. Rotte, Ralph & Vogler, Michael, 1999. "The Effects of Development on Migration: Theoretical Issues and New Empirical Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 46, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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