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Comparing the Effects of Policies for the Labor Market Integration of Refugees


  • Mette Foged
  • Linea Hasager
  • Giovanni Peri


This paper estimates, within a common framework, the effects of four types of integration polices on the employment probability and earnings of refugees in Denmark during the last three decades. We first review the studies that use a credible identification strategy to evaluate the causal effects of these types of policies on the assimilation of refugees in developed countries. We then describe the dynamics of labor market outcomes of several cohorts of refugees in Denmark. To our knowledge, Denmark is the only country where the number and design of policy changes and the longitudinal individual data availability make such an analysis possible. Our analysis suggests that improved language training, combined with initial placement of refugees in strong labor markets, significantly improved their long-run labor market outcomes. On the contrary, cutting initial welfare payments and housing them near other refugees does not seem to improve their long-run outcomes. Active labor market policies focused on matching refugees with simple jobs in high demand occupations may have positive short-run effects, but we cannot yet assess their long-run effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Mette Foged & Linea Hasager & Giovanni Peri, 2022. "Comparing the Effects of Policies for the Labor Market Integration of Refugees," NBER Working Papers 30534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:30534
    Note: LS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mario Carillo & Gemma Dipoppa & Shanker Satyanath, 2023. "Fascist ideology and migrant labor exploitation," Economics Working Papers 1865, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    2. Foged, Mette & van der Werf, Cynthia, 2023. "Access to Language Training and the Local Integration of Refugees," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 12862, Inter-American Development Bank.
    3. Foged, Mette & van der Werf, Cynthia, 2023. "Access to language training and the local integration of refugees," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    4. Ahrens, Achim & Beerli, Andreas & Hangartner, Dominik & Kurer, Selina & Siegenthaler, Michael, 2023. "The Labor Market Effects of Restricting Refugees' Employment Opportunities," IZA Discussion Papers 15901, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Foged, Mette & Hasager, Linea & Peri, Giovanni & Arendt, Jacob Nielsen & Bolvig, Iben, 2023. "Intergenerational spillover effects of language training for refugees," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 220(C).
    6. Berbée, Paul & Stuhler, Jan, 2023. "The Integration of Migrants in the German Labor Market: Evidence over 50 Years," IZA Discussion Papers 16439, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Kunz, Johannes S. & Zhu, Anna, 2023. "Welfare Reform and Migrant's Long-Term Labor Market Integration," IZA Discussion Papers 16285, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Palsson, Craig, 2023. "The forces of path dependence: Haiti's refugee camps, 1937–2009," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 89(C).
    9. Gathmann, Christina & Garbers, Julio, 2023. "Citizenship and integration," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    10. Linea Hasager, 2023. "Does Granting Refugee Status to Family-Reunified Women Improve Their Integration?," CESifo Working Paper Series 10866, CESifo.
    11. Johannes Kunz & Anna Zhu, 2023. "Welfare Reform and Migrant’s Long-term Labor Market Integration," Papers 2023-05, Centre for Health Economics, Monash University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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