Guglielmo Barone, Alessio D'Ignazio, Guido de Blasio, Paolo Naticchioni, 19 April 2016

The recent refugee crisis in Europe has highlighted that increased immigration leads to political success for extreme right-wing parties. This column uses evidence from three elections in Italy to quantify the impact immigration has on the political success of non-extreme right-wing parties. In the Italian case, immigration leads to bigger gains for centre-right parties than extreme right parties.

Mathieu Couttenier, Veronica Preotu, Dominic Rohner, Mathias Thoenig, 06 April 2016

The refugee crisis that erupted in 2015 has raised concerns about potential violence and criminality of the migrants. This column investigates whether past exposure to conflict makes asylum seekers in Switzerland more violent. The findings show that cohorts exposed to civil conflicts/mass killings during childhood are, on average, 40% more prone to violent crimes than their co-nationals born after the conflict. Certain policies can mitigate this result. In particular, offering labour market access to asylum seekers eliminates all the effect.

Luigi Guiso, Luigi Pistaferri, Fabiano Schivardi, 03 April 2016

Entrepreneurship often concentrates in certain geographic locations, with Silicon Valley the most famous example today. While a large literature focuses on these cross-location differences in entrepreneurial density, questions remain about the supply of entrepreneurial skills across locations. Using Italian data, this column investigates whether selection into entrepreneurship is affected by learning opportunities in adolescence. Those who grow up in an area with higher entrepreneurial density are found to be more likely to become entrepreneurs themselves. They are also more likely to succeed and earn a higher income.

Shekhar Aiyar, Helge Berger, Enrica Detragiache, Antonio Spilimbergo, 29 February 2016

The unprecedented inflow of refugees to Europe and their uneven distribution calls for coordinated policy actions. This column discusses the economic challenges of the refugee influx. The fiscal and growth impacts largely depend on the speed and success of labour market integration. It is important therefore to implement a range of policies that can foster refugees’ economic integration. 

Eli Berman, Mitch Downey, Joe Felter, 15 February 2016

The bloody conflicts in Syria and Iraq have forced the issue of refugees onto the global agenda. However, among the neglected aspects of this discussion are how governance can be restored to conflict regions and the welfare effects that such actions, which are likely to be coercive, will have on local residents. This column examines the impact of a counter-insurgency programme in the Philippines on one development outcome in contested territories – malnutrition of young children. The programme saw a substantial long-term decrease in malnutrition in recaptured areas, but a rise in malnutrition in neighbouring areas. Such efforts may simply displace insurgents and their negative effects, rather than reducing them.

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