Michael Clemens, Jennifer Hunt, 21 July 2017

Sudden inflows of refugees have been shown to have little or no impact on native wages, but recent research has challenged this consensus, using instrumental variables to show uniformly large detrimental effects. This column argues that these new results were due to problems with the strategy used and, in the case of the Mariel boatlift, the composition of the sample. Correcting for these flaws, the impact of immigration on average native-born workers remains small and inconsistent, with no evidence to show a large detrimental impact on less-educated workers.

Scott Ross Baker, Nicholas Bloom, Steven Davis, 15 December 2015

, 14 December 2016

Migration is a mechanism through which crises can be spread out globally. In this video, Andrés Solimano discusses the impact of mass forced migration for recipient countries. This video was recorded at the UNU-WIDER Development Conference in September 2016.


The aim of the conference is to reflect on the limits of current data used to study migration and to connect producers and academic users of migration data. The organizing committee invites the submission of high-quality academic papers that use different datasets (administrative, survey, experimental). A roundtable will be organized with stake-holders that facilitate data collection and dissemination (DGEF, IAB, INED, OECD).

Key note speaker: Herbert BRÜCKER (University of Bamberg, IAB, IZA) “Causes and consequences of refugee migration: new evidence from the German refugee survey”

If you would like to submit a paper please send an email to [email protected]. In the case of multiple-authored papers, indicate who will present and whether or not the presenter would also be willing to act as a discussant. Authors will be notified about the acceptance of papers and the conference programme by the end of March, 2017.


Francesco Fasani, 31 October 2016

The migration debate is often harsh and polarised, oscillating from calls for more open borders to promises to build new fences, and contrasting the views of those who emphasise the advantages and benefits from migration flows with those who consider migrants to impose an unnecessary strain on hosting societies. This column introduces a new eBook that offers a brief summary of what economists have learnt about migration in several crucial areas of policymaking, and identifies most of the important questions that still remain to be answered.

Christian Dustmann, Francesco Fasani, Tommaso Frattini, Luigi Minale, Uta Schӧnberg, 18 October 2016

The current refugee crisis poses an enormous challenge not only to European countries, but to the fundaments and achievements of the EU as a whole. This column discusses how this latest crisis differs from the crisis in the early 1990s, and argues there is a drastic need for a new regulatory framework to replace dated coordination attempts. The framework should be based on two pillars: a coordinated policy that secures Europe’s outer borders and deals with asylum claims before refugees have (illegally) crossed into mainland Europe, and a more equitable allocation mechanism.

Timothy Hatton, 23 May 2016

The Syrian exodus has created a crisis that has thrown the existing European asylum system into chaos and has led to an increasingly polarised debate over solutions. This column argues that in the long term, we need to shift away from the current system of ‘spontaneous’ asylum migration towards a comprehensive resettlement programme. However, a radical shift towards resettlement is unlikely while the Syrian crisis continues at its current intensity.

Gabriel Felbermayr, Jasmin Gröschl, Thomas Steinwachs, 27 April 2016

The refugee crisis has placed Europe’s Schengen Agreement under stress, with some calling for the reintroduction of identity checks and other border controls. This column presents new estimates of the potential costs of such controls. On average, the removal of controls at one border acts like the removal of a 0.7% tariff. The controls currently notified to the EU Commission could lower EU GDP by around €12.5 billion. The full demise of Schengen would be about three times as costly.

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.

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.

Joakim Ruist, 28 January 2016

The current inflow of refugees into Europe has left policymakers in disagreement over how to react. A major concern is the perceived financial burden that can result from large intakes. This column discusses the fiscal impact of refugees on the Swedish economy. The current net redistribution from the non-refugee population to refugees (excluding arrivals in 2015) is estimated to be 1.35% of GDP. The economic burden of a generous refugee policy is therefore not particularly heavy, especially if the host country incorporates them as quickly as possible into the labour market.

Scott Ross Baker, Nicholas Bloom, Steven Davis, 15 December 2015

The recent influx of refugees to Europe has stoked security fears and created anxiety about the social and economic consequences. This column provides new quantitative indicators for the intensity of migration-related fears and policy uncertainty, based on newspaper articles. The indices are presented for the US, UK, France, and Germany, and extend back to 1995. They show that recent levels of concern and uncertainty in European countries about migration are unprecedented. 

Asha Abdel-Rahim, Dany Jaimovich, Aleksi Ylönen, 13 December 2015

One of the most important effects of armed conflicts is the forced displacement of large numbers of civilians. When conflicts end, many who have left their homes return, facing the challenge of rebuilding their lives in post-conflict areas. This column analyses the outcomes of returning households during a short-lived interwar period in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. Returning households, particularly those that are female-headed, face worse economic conditions. But returnees fare better on various health indicators, likely related to changes in sanitary habits picked up during displacement.

Emilie Anér, Anna Graneli, Magnus Lodefalk, 14 October 2015

A large body of research has established a positive link between immigrants and bilateral trade. However, the temporary movement of people across borders has received less attention. This column uses Swedish data to analyse the impact of temporary cross-border movement on trade. Recently arrived migrants are found to reduce the negative impact of distance on foreign trade, by assisting firms to overcome informal and informational barriers to trade with their origin country. Facilitating movement of people across borders can be a highly useful tool for engaging in and benefitting from specialised and internationalised production networks.

Thomas Bauer, Sebastian Braun, Michael Kvasnicka, 24 February 2014

The economic literature has paid scarce attention to the tens of millions of people who are displaced by conflict or forcibly relocated. This column analyses outcomes for 12 million Germans relocated from central and eastern Europe following the second world war. Labour-market outcomes were generally negative, but positive for women relocated from rural areas. Interestingly, children of migrants made greater educational investments than their native counterparts.

Timothy Hatton, 14 July 2011

Asylum is a controversial and politically fraught topic. For the people involved it can be a matter of life or death. This column introduces a new CEPR report arguing that it is high time the EU adopts an integrated policy on asylum based on historical insight, quantitative evidence, and a realistic view of the politics involved.

Timothy Hatton, 14 July 2011

CEPR's newest report tackles the thorny policy questions surrounding asylum seeking. The author argues that policy towards asylum seekers should take into account history, evidence, and a realistic view of the political economy of asylum policy. The report argues for a more centralised European asylum system and for a range of specific policy reforms.