Scared Straight? Threat and Assimilation of Refugees in Germany

130 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2021 Last revised: 25 Aug 2022

See all articles by Philipp Jaschke

Philipp Jaschke

Government of the Federal Republic of Germany - Institute for Employment Research (IAB)

Sulin Sardoschau

Humboldt University - Department of Economics

Marco Tabellini

Harvard Business School

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Date Written: August 2022

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of threat on convergence to local culture and on economic assimilation of refugees, exploiting plausibly exogenous variation in their allocation across German regions between 2013 and 2016. We combine novel survey data on cultural preferences and economic outcomes of refugees with corresponding information on locals, and construct a threat index that integrates contemporaneous and historical variables. On average, refugees assimilate both culturally and economically. However, while refugees assigned to more hostile regions converge to local culture more quickly, they do not exhibit faster economic assimilation. We provide evidence consistent with the hypothesis that refugees exert more assimilation effort in response to local threat, but fail to successfully integrate because of higher discrimination by locals in more hostile regions.

Keywords: Migration, refugees, culture, assimilation, identity

Suggested Citation

Jaschke, Philipp and Sardoschau, Sulin and Tabellini, Marco, Scared Straight? Threat and Assimilation of Refugees in Germany (August 2022). Harvard Business School BGIE Unit Working Paper No. 22-043, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3988428 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3988428

Philipp Jaschke

Government of the Federal Republic of Germany - Institute for Employment Research (IAB) ( email )

Regensburger Str. 104
Nuremberg, 90478
Germany

Sulin Sardoschau

Humboldt University - Department of Economics ( email )

Unter den Linden 6
Berlin, AK Berlin 10099
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/view/sulinsardoschau/home

Marco Tabellini (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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