Spatial Dependence in Asylum Migration

Fabian Barthel

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Eric Neumayer

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

August 2014

Existing refugees in a destination country from the same source country reduce the uncertainty faced by subsequent asylum migrants since existing refugees can provide information and assistance. We argue that such network effects extend beyond the borders of specific source countries. Potential asylum migrants might also be able to draw on networks from geographically proximate as well as linguistically similar countries and from countries having previously been colonized by the same destination country, thus creating spatial dependence in asylum migration among source countries. Many destination countries meanwhile aspire to reduce the inflow of migrants by tightening their asylum policies. Target countries which restrict their policies relatively more than other destinations deflect some asylum migrants to geographically proximate destination countries, thus creating spatial dependence among target countries. We find evidence for both types of spatial dependence in our global analysis of asylum migration. However, while statistically significant, the degree of spatial dependence among target countries is modest. On the source side, there is evidence for modest spatial dependence among linguistically similar countries and no evidence for spatial dependence among countries which were previously colonized by the same destination country. By contrast, we find substantial spatial dependence among geographically proximate source countries.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: migration, migrant networks, asylum policy, externalities, spatial dependence

JEL Classification: F22, J15, K37

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Date posted: May 21, 2012 ; Last revised: August 29, 2014

Suggested Citation

Barthel, Fabian and Neumayer, Eric, Spatial Dependence in Asylum Migration (August 2014). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2062832 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2062832

Contact Information

Fabian Barthel
London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )
Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/barthel
Eric Neumayer (Contact Author)
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ( email )
Houghton Street
WC2A 2AE London
United Kingdom
+44 207 955 7598 (Phone)
+44 207 955 7412 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/neumayer
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