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Bogus Refugees? The Determinants of Asylum Migration to Western Europe

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  • Eric Neumayer

    (LSE)

Abstract

This article analyses the determinants of asylum migration to Western Europe. Potential asylum seekers balance the costs of staying versus the costs of migrating. Estimation results confirm that economic hardship and economic discrimination against ethnic minorities leads to higher flows of asylum seekers. However, political oppression, human rights abuse, violent conflict and state failure are also important determinants, casting doubt on the mis-conception of all asylum seekers as ‘bogus’ refugees. Migration networks and geographical proximity are important facilitators of asylum flows as predicted by theory. Colonial experience, religious similarity and casual contact with the developed world (aid, trade and tourism) are not. Natural disasters and famines are also not statistically significant determinants. These events are typically short-term and unexpected, whereas asylum migration to Western Europe requires preparatory planning.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Neumayer, 2003. "Bogus Refugees? The Determinants of Asylum Migration to Western Europe," Labor and Demography 0311002, EconWPA, revised 19 May 2004.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0311002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
    3. Kahanec, Martin & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2008. "International Migration, Ethnicity and Economic Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 3450, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    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. Timothy J. Hatton, 2005. "European Asylum Policy," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 194(1), pages 106-119, October.

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    JEL classification:

    • J - Labor and Demographic Economics

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