IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Refugee Surge in Europe; Economic Challenges


  • Shekhar Aiyar
  • Bergljot B Barkbu
  • Nicoletta Batini
  • Helge Berger
  • Enrica Detragiache
  • Allan Dizioli
  • Christian H Ebeke
  • Huidan Huidan Lin
  • Linda Kaltani
  • Sebastian Sosa
  • Antonio Spilimbergo
  • Petia Topalova


Against the background of political turmoil in the Middle-East, Europe faces an unprecedented surge in asylum applications. In analyzing the economic impact of this inflow, this paper draws from the experience of previous economic migrants and refugees, mindful of the fact that the characteristics of economic migrants can be different from refugees. In the short-run, additional public expenditure will provide a small positive impact on GDP, concentrated in the main destination countries of Germany, Sweden and Austria. Over the longer-term, depending on the speed and success of the integration of refugees in the labor market, the increase in the labor force can have a more lasting impact on growth and the public finances. Here good policies will make an important difference. These include lowering barriers to labor markets for refugees, for example through wage subsidies to employers, and, in particular, reducing legal barriers to labor market participation during asylum process, removing obstacles to entrepreneurship/self-employment, providing job training and job search assistance, as well as language skills. While native workers often have legitimate concerns about the impact of immigrants on wages and employment, past experience indicates that any adverse effects are limited and temporary.

Suggested Citation

  • Shekhar Aiyar & Bergljot B Barkbu & Nicoletta Batini & Helge Berger & Enrica Detragiache & Allan Dizioli & Christian H Ebeke & Huidan Huidan Lin & Linda Kaltani & Sebastian Sosa & Antonio Spilimbergo , 2016. "The Refugee Surge in Europe; Economic Challenges," IMF Staff Discussion Notes 16/2, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfsdn:16/2

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:oup:ecpoli:v:32:y:2017:i:91:p:497-550. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. 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.
    3. David, Alexandra, 2017. "Migrantisches Unternehmertum: Eine Chance der Arbeitsmarkintegration für geflüchtete Menschen?," Forschung Aktuell 02/2017, Institut Arbeit und Technik (IAT), Westfälische Hochschule, University of Applied Sciences.
    4. Francesco Fasani & Tommaso Frattini & Luigi Minale, 2017. "The (Struggle for) Labour Market Integration of Refugees: Evidence from European Countries," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1716, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    5. repec:taf:entreg:v:29:y:2017:i:9-10:p:847-868 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Peter Haan & Martin Kroh & Kent Troutman, 2017. "Employment and Human Capital Investment Intentions among Recent Refugees in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 937, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Stefan Schiman, 2016. "Weltwirtschaft durch EU-Austritt Großbritanniens kaum beeinträchtigt. Mittelfristige Prognose bis 2021," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 89(10), pages 717-727, October.
    8. Rosario Maria Ballatore & Adele Grompone & Lucia Lucci & Patrizia Passiglia & Andrea Sechi, 2017. "Refugees and asylum seekers in Italy and in the EU," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 377, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Peter Haan & Martin Kroh & Kent Troutman, 2017. "Employment and Human Capital Investment Intentions among Recent Refugees in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1692, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    10. Stefan Schiman, 2016. "World Economy Expected to be Hardly Affected by UK's Exit from EU. Medium-term Forecast Until 2021," WIFO Bulletin, WIFO, vol. 21(17), pages 168-177, December.
    11. Böhme, René & Fortmann, Fabian & Persau, Valentin, 2019. "Arbeitsmarktintegration von Geflüchteten: Eine Bestandsaufnahme nach ausgewählten Branchen im Land Bremen," Reihe Arbeit und Wirtschaft in Bremen 28, Institut Arbeit und Wirtschaft (IAW), Universität Bremen und Arbeit­nehmer­kammer Bremen.
    12. Shantayanan Devarajan & Lili Mottaghi, "undated". "Middle East and North Africa Economic Monitor, October 2017," World Bank Other Operational Studies 28395, The World Bank.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:imf:imfsdn:16/2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jim Beardow) or (Hassan Zaidi) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Hassan Zaidi to update the entry or send us the correct email address. General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.