Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Assistant Professor Seth Jolly
Assistant Professor Jonathan Hanson
Citizenship and Public Affairs
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
International and Area Studies | Other International and Area Studies
Each year, hundreds of thousands of individuals become asylum applicants as they request protection from persecution in a state other than their own. While many of these persons requesting to be recognized as refugees lodge their claims in neighbouring states, since the 1980s, Europe has seen an increasing number of asylum seekers arriving from developing nations in Africa and Asia. This has contributed to concerns among populations in Western Europe regarding immigrants and the emergence of political parties with anti-immigration discourses. As a result, immigration and asylum policies today are issues high on the political agenda as governments attempt to control the number of asylum applications they receive.
This thesis addresses the question of to what extent governments can influence the number of asylum applications they receive. Building on previous studies examining which factors influence asylum seekers’ destination choice I argue that strict asylum policies can act as a deterrent for asylum applicants. Using time series cross sectional data for 16 OECD states 1997 through 2006, taking into account variables of economic attractiveness, colonial ties, network effects, hostility toward foreigners and asylum policy changes I found colonial ties and asylum policy changes to be the most important determinants for where asylum seekers lodge their claim. Two case studies examining the effect of asylum policy changes on the number of asylum applications lodged in Denmark and Sweden also support these findings. However, they also demonstrate the limits on asylum policy as an instrument for controlling the number of applications received as external events generating refugee flows can increase the number of asylum seekers despite stricter policies.
Wiklund, Elin, "Providing Protection, Discouraging Applications: The Influence of Policy on Asylum Seekers’ Destination Choice" (2012). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 189.
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