The Effect of 3.6 Million Refugees on Crime

31 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2021 Last revised: 16 Apr 2023

See all articles by Murat G. Kïrdar

Murat G. Kïrdar

Middle East Technical University (METU) - Department of Economics; Bogazici University - Department of Economics

Ivan Lopez Cruz

Sabanci University

Betul Turkum

Aix-Marseille University - Aix-Marseille School of Economics

Abstract

Most studies examining the impact of migrants on crime rates in hosting populations are in the context of economic migrants in developed countries. However, we know much less about the crime impact of refugees in low- and middle-income countries—whose numbers are increasing worldwide. This study examines this issue in the context of the largest refugee group in any country—Syrian refugees in Turkey. Although these refugees are much poorer than the local population, have limited access to formal employment, and face partial mobility restrictions, we find that total crime per person (including natives and refugees) falls due to the arrival of the refugees. This finding also applies to several types of crime; the only exception is smuggling, which increases due to the population influx. We also show that the fall in crime does not result from tighter security; we find no evidence of a change in the number of armed forces (military and civil personnel) in the migrant-hosting regions.

Keywords: refugees, security, crime, immigration-crime nexus, civil war

JEL Classification: J15, K42, D74

Suggested Citation

Kirdar, Murat G. and Lopez Cruz, Ivan and Turkum, Betul, The Effect of 3.6 Million Refugees on Crime. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14647, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3908862 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3908862

Murat G. Kirdar (Contact Author)

Middle East Technical University (METU) - Department of Economics ( email )

Inonu Bulvari
Ankara
Turkey

Bogazici University - Department of Economics ( email )

Natuk Birkan Building
Bebek
Istanbul, 34342
Turkey

Ivan Lopez Cruz

Sabanci University ( email )

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Orhanli
Istanbul, 34956
Turkey
216 483 9337 (Phone)

Betul Turkum

Aix-Marseille University - Aix-Marseille School of Economics ( email )

5-9 Bd Maurice Bourdet
Marseille, 13001
France

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