(The Struggle for) Refugee Integration into the Labour Market: Evidence from Europe

44 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2018 Last revised: 29 Jun 2020

See all articles by Francesco Fasani

Francesco Fasani

Queen Mary University of London

Tommaso Frattini

University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA); University of Milan - Department of Economics, Business and Statistics

Luigi Minale

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Date Written: February 2018

Abstract

In this paper, we study the labour market performance of refugees vis-à-vis comparable migrants across twenty European countries and over time. In the first part of our analysis, we document that labour market outcomes for refugees are consistently worse than those for other migrants. Refugees are 11.6 percent less likely to have a job and 22.1 percent more likely to be unemployed than migrants with similar characteristics. Moreover, their income, occupational quality and labour market participation are also relatively weaker. The refugee-migrant gap remains sizeable even after controlling for individual characteristics as well as for unobservables using a rich set of fixed effects and interactions between area of origin, entry cohort and destination country. These gaps persist until about 10-15 years after immigration. In the second part of our analysis, we investigate the role of economic and asylum policy conditions at the time of arrival in shaping integration paths of refugees versus migrants. First, we find that immigrating in a recession produces scarring effects for all migrants but no differential effect for forced migrants, leaving little role for this channel to explain observed refugee gaps. Second, we focus on the impact on refugees of being subject to spatial dispersal policies. Our estimates imply that dispersed refugees experience a persistent impact on their residential choices and substantial long run losses in their economic integration with respect to non-dispersed refugees.

Keywords: Assimilation, asylum policies, asylum seekers, refugee gap

JEL Classification: F22, J15, J61

Suggested Citation

Fasani, Francesco and Frattini, Tommaso and Minale, Luigi, (The Struggle for) Refugee Integration into the Labour Market: Evidence from Europe (February 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12718, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3126212

Francesco Fasani (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London ( email )

Mile End Road
London, London E1 4NS
United Kingdom

Tommaso Frattini

University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA) ( email )

Via P. Amedeo 34
Milano, Mi 20122
Italy

University of Milan - Department of Economics, Business and Statistics ( email )

Via Festa del Perdono, 7
Milan, 20122
Italy

Luigi Minale

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid ( email )

CL. de Madrid 126
Madrid, 28903
Spain

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