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Spatial dependence in asylum migration


  • Barthel, Fabian
  • Neumayer, Eric


Existing refugees in a destination country from the same source country reduce the uncertainty faced by subsequent asylum migrants since existing refugees can provide information and assistance. We argue that such network effects extend beyond the borders of specific source countries. Potential asylum migrants might also be able to draw on networks from geographically proximate as well as linguistically similar countries and from countries having previously been colonized by the same destination country, thus creating spatial dependence in asylum migration among source countries. Many destination countries meanwhile aspire to reduce the inflow of migrants by tightening their asylum policies. Target countries which restrict their policies relatively more than other destinations deflect some asylum migrants to geographically proximate destination countries, thus creating spatial dependence among target countries. We find evidence for both types of spatial dependence in our global analysis of asylum migration. However, while statistically significant, the degree of spatial dependence among target countries is modest. On the source side, there is evidence for modest spatial dependence among linguistically similar countries and no evidence for spatial dependence among countries which were previously colonized by the same destination country. By contrast, we find substantial spatial dependence among geographically proximate source countries

Suggested Citation

  • Barthel, Fabian & Neumayer, Eric, 2015. "Spatial dependence in asylum migration," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 64187, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:64187

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. TimothyJ. Hatton, 2009. "The Rise and Fall of Asylum: What Happened and Why?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(535), pages 183-213, February.
    2. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Çağlar Özden, 2010. "Diaspora Effects in International Migration: Key Questions and Methodological Issues," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 146(IV), pages 639-659, December.
    3. Timothy J. Hatton, 2004. "Seeking asylum in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 19(38), pages 5-62, April.
    4. Alesina, Alberto & Dollar, David, 2000. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 33-63, March.
    5. Salehyan, Idean & Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede, 2006. "Refugees and the Spread of Civil War," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(02), pages 335-366, April.
    6. Mayer, Thierry & Zignago, Soledad, 2006. "Notes on CEPII’s distances measures," MPRA Paper 26469, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Rotte, Ralph & Vogler, Michael & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 1997. "South-North Refugee Migration: Lessons for Development Cooperation," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 99-115, February.
    8. Mckenzie, David & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Network effects and the dynamics of migration and inequality: Theory and evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-24, September.
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    10. Zaryab Iqbal & Harvey Starr, 2008. "Bad Neighbors: Failed States and Their Consequences," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 25(4), pages 315-331, September.
    11. Lee, Lung-fei & Yu, Jihai, 2010. "Some recent developments in spatial panel data models," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 255-271, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy J. Hatton, 2017. "Refugees and asylum seekers, the crisis in Europe and the future of policy," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 32(91), pages 447-496.
    2. Jon Echevarria & Javier Gardeazabal, 2016. "Refugee gravitation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 169(3), pages 269-292, December.
    3. Axel Dreher & Andreas Fuchs & Sarah Langlotz, 2018. "The Effects of Foreign Aid on Refugee Flows," CESifo Working Paper Series 6885, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. repec:eee:irlaec:v:51:y:2017:i:c:p:50-59 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    migration; migrant networks; asylum policy; externalities; spatial dependence;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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