Forced Displacement and Asylum Policy in the Developing World

101 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2020 Last revised: 5 Apr 2021

See all articles by Christopher W. Blair

Christopher W. Blair

University of Pennsylvania

Guy Grossman

University of Pennsylvania

Jeremy M. Weinstein

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; Center for Global Development

Date Written: April 5, 2021

Abstract

Little theoretical or empirical work examines migration policy in the developing world. We develop and test a two-stage theory that distinguishes the drivers of policy reform and factors influencing the direction of reform. We introduce an original dataset of de jure asylum and refugee policies covering more than 90 developing countries that are presently excluded from existing indices of migration policy. Examining descriptive trends in the data, we find that unlike in the Global North, forced displacement policies in the Global South have become more liberal over time. Empirically, we test the determinants of asylum policymaking, bolstering our quantitative results with qualitative evidence from interviews in Uganda. A number of key findings emerge. Intense, proximate civil wars are the primary impetus for asylum policy change in the Global South. Liberalizing changes are made by regimes led by political elites whose ethnic kin confront discrimination or violence in neighboring countries. There is no generalizable evidence that repressive regimes liberalize asylum policy in exchange for economic assistance from Western actors. Distinct frameworks are needed to understand migration policymaking in developing versus developed countries.

Keywords: Forced Displacement, Migration Policy

JEL Classification: F22, J15

Suggested Citation

Blair, Christopher and Grossman, Guy and Weinstein, Jeremy M., Forced Displacement and Asylum Policy in the Developing World (April 5, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3565557 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3565557

Christopher Blair (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Guy Grossman

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

133 S. 36th Street
Perelman Center for Political Science and Economic
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
(215) 898-4209 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://web.sas.upenn.edu/ggros/

Jeremy M. Weinstein

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Center for Global Development

2055 L St. NW
5th floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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