Seeking asylum in Europe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Over the last three decades the annual number of applications for asylum in the countries of the European Union has increased from about 15 000 to more than 300 000. This has sparked a political backlash, a revolution in policy, a lively academic debate, but very little economic analysis. Although the causes of asylum flows and the effects of policy are much discussed, they have rarely been the subject of quantitative analysis. This article examines the evolution of asylum flows and asylum policy across the EU since the early 1980s. It investigates the effects of war and conflict, economic incentives, and asylum policies on the total numbers and on the proportions going to the different countries of the EU. Special attention is given to the growth of policy restrictiveness across the EU and to the harmonization of asylum policies. Contrary to some views, policy has worked to stem the flows, but it has been overwhelmed by other forces.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7-62
    JournalEconomic Policy: a European forum
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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