The Economic Experiences of Refugees in Canada

32 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2004  

Don J. DeVoretz

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Sergiy Pivnenko

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Department of Economics

Morton Beiser

University of Toronto; Italian National Research Council (CNR) - Centre for Economic Research on Firms and Growth (CERIS)

Date Written: March 2004

Abstract

Canada admits refugees on the basis of compassion and not economic criteria. It is however, important to document the economic successes or failures among Canada's refugee population in order to understand how post arrival integration policies affect refugee economic performance. This essay examines a set of economic indicators from Canada's IMDB database to assess the post 1981 Canadian refugee economic experience. With the aid of a standard human capital model we answer a series of economic questions including the length of time required for refugee economic integration, their use of Canada's social safety net, refugee poverty levels and refugee economic performance vis-a-vis Canada's family immigrant class. Our main findings are that employed Canadian refugees earn an amount equal to that earned by their family class reference group circa 1980-2001. However, the incidence of social assistance attachment for refugees is substantial and for those refugees who receive any assistance their total income is at the near destitute level.

Keywords: refugees, immigrant earnings, human capital

JEL Classification: J61

Suggested Citation

DeVoretz, Don J. and Pivnenko, Sergiy and Beiser, Morton, The Economic Experiences of Refugees in Canada (March 2004). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1088. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=526022

Don J. DeVoretz

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Department of Economics ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada
604-291-4575 (Phone)
604-291-5336 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Sergiy Pivnenko (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Department of Economics ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Morton Beiser

University of Toronto ( email )

Department of Statistical Sciences
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S 3G8
Canada

Italian National Research Council (CNR) - Centre for Economic Research on Firms and Growth (CERIS)

Via Avogadro 8
10121 Torino
Italy

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