Do Asylum-seekers Respond to Policy Changes? Evidence from the Swedish-Syrian Case



This paper uses quasi-experimental evidence to understand how changes in asylum policy affect the number of asylum-seekers. We look specifically at a sudden, regulatory change in the Swedish reception of Syrian asylum-seekers. The change took place in September 2013 and implied that all Syrian asylum-seekers would be granted permanent instead of temporary residence permits. Using high-frequency data and an interrupted time-series set-up, we study the extent to which this change caused more Syrian citizens to apply for asylum in Sweden. The paper provides several new insights: Our estimates show a clear increase in the number of asylum applications in Sweden after the policy change. The increase had implications for the distribution of Syrian asylum-seekers in Europe, but only in the short term. Also, the change caused a shift in the share of adult men arriving without a household member, and consequently in the share of refugees applying for family reunification.



Log in or register with APSA to comment
Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting and Discussion Policy [opens in a new tab] – please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .