The Economics of Refugee Flows

With some notable exceptions, the Australian public debate over refugees has so far been conducted largely in an evidence-free zone. So I’ve asked my colleague Tim Hatton to send me through his recent writings on the topic. Tim has written two papers for high-ranking economics journals on the factors driving asylum/refugee flows. He’s sent me a recent powerpoint, plus an article he wrote for the AFR on this topic a couple of years ago (the numbers may have changed since then, but the fundamentals of the analysis haven’t).

3 thoughts on “The Economics of Refugee Flows”

  1. Fantastic stuff.
    Has there been much recent research on host-country effects? We keep on hearing either that (a) boatpeople are all entrepreneurs, and want nothing more than to start more Westfields, or (b) boatpeople are happy to front up the money to come here because they want nothing more than dole payments.
    I´ve done a few Google Scholar searches, and can´t seem to find any comparative studies between regular refugees, who come legally, and `boatpeople´.  Does anyone actually know if there is a difference, or are they just pretending?


  2. There was another interesting article (by John Kerin) published on Saturday in the Weekend Australian Financial Review that actually compared asylum claims in key Western nations. A combined Australian and NZ total of asyslum claims was dwarfed in size by other countries.

    The comparison was made on the basis of total claims rather than per capita or per population size, but even Norway and Sweden ,with smaller populations than Australia, had much higher claims in terms of absolute numbers.

    Does anybody know for a fact whether all asylum seekers that arrive via boat actually apply to stay in Australia or do a proportion apply for asylum in other countries? I suspect that the general perception is that every asylum seeker intends to finish their trek here.


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