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Publication Date
1 May 2017

Asylum Applications and Migration Flows



We discuss an underutilized dataset to examine the causes of migration. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees publishes annual binational asylum applications and the resulting decisions. Asylum is granted to protect individuals from persecution. They are a small part of overall migration patterns: one-tenth of overall migration flows into OECD countries. The European Union receives the largest share of asylum applicants and has a low acceptance rate, but the rate increases when source countries have positive deviations from historic trends. Countries outside the EU and OECD receive almost all of the applications from neighbors with a contiguous land border.

“Asylum Applications And Migration Flows”. 2017. American Economic Review 107: 436-440. doi:10.1257/aer.p20171051.
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