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Managing Refugee Protection Crises: Policy Lessons from Economics and Political Science

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  • Hangartner, Dominik

    (Stanford University)

  • Sarvimäki, Matti

    (Aalto University)

  • Spirig, Judith

    (Stanford University)

Abstract

We review and interpret research on the economic and political effects of receiving asylum seekers and refugees in developed countries, with a particular focus on the 2015 European refugee protection crisis and its aftermath. In the first part of the paper, we examine the consequences of receiving asylum seekers and refugees and identify two main findings. First, the reception of refugees is unlikely to generate large direct economic effects. Both labor market and fiscal consequences for host countries are likely to be relatively modest. Second, however, the broader political processes accompanying the reception and integration of refugees may give rise to indirect yet larger economic effects. Specifically, a growing body of work suggests that the arrival of asylum seekers and refugees can fuel the rise of anti-immigrant populist parties, which may lead to the adoption of economically and politically isolationist policies. Yet, these political effects are not inevitable and occur only under certain conditions. In the second part of the paper, we discuss the conditions under which these effects are less likely to occur. We argue that refugees' effective integration along relevant linguistic, economic, and legal dimensions, an allocation of asylum seekers that is perceived as 'fair' by the host society, and meaningful contact between locals and newly arrived refugees have the potential to mitigate the political and indirect economic risks.

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  • Hangartner, Dominik & Sarvimäki, Matti & Spirig, Judith, 2021. "Managing Refugee Protection Crises: Policy Lessons from Economics and Political Science," IZA Discussion Papers 14821, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp14821
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    Cited by:

    1. Dahlberg, Matz & Egebark, Johan & Vikman, Ulrika & Özcan, Gülay, 2024. "Labor market integration of refugees: RCT evidence from an early intervention program in Sweden," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 217(C), pages 614-630.
    2. Matti Sarvimäki & Hanna Pesola, 2022. "Intergenerational Spillovers of Integration Policies: Evidence from Finland’s Integration Plans," RF Berlin - CReAM Discussion Paper Series 2212, Rockwool Foundation Berlin (RF Berlin) - Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM).
    3. Pesola, Hanna Onerva & Sarvimäki, Matti, 2022. "Intergenerational Spillovers of Integration Policies: Evidence from Finland’s Integration Plans," IZA Discussion Papers 15310, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    integration policies; populism; asylum seekers; refugees;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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