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Ethnic networks can foster the economic integration of refugees
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics. Stanford Univ, Immigrat Policy Lab, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland;Swiss Fed Inst Technol, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.
Stanford Univ, Immigrat Policy Lab, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland;Swiss Fed Inst Technol, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland;Stanford Univ, Dept Polit Sci, Stanford, CA 94305 USA;Stanford Univ, Grad Sch Business, Stanford, CA 94305 USA.
Stanford Univ, Immigrat Policy Lab, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland;Swiss Fed Inst Technol, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland;Swiss Fed Inst Technol, Ctr Comparat & Int Studies, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland;London Sch Econ, Dept Govt, London WC2A 2AE, England.
2019 (English)In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, ISSN 0027-8424, E-ISSN 1091-6490, Vol. 116, no 33, p. 16280-16285Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is widespread concern in Europe and other refugee-receiving continents that living in an enclave of coethnics hinders refugees' economic and social integration. Several European governments have adopted policies to geographically disperse refugees. While many theoretical arguments and descriptive studies analyze the impact of spatially concentrated ethnic networks on immigrant integration, there is limited causal evidence that sheds light on the efficacy of these policies. We provide evidence by studying the economic integration of refugees in Switzerland, where some refugees are assigned to live in a specific location upon arrival and, by law, are not permitted to relocate during the first 5 y. Leveraging this exogenous placement mechanism, we find that refugees assigned to locations with many conationals are more likely to enter the labor market. This benefit is most pronounced about 3 y after arrival and weakens somewhat with longer residency. In addition, we find that, among refugees employed by the same company, a high proportion share nationality, ethnicity, or language, which suggests that ethnic residential networks transmit information about employment opportunities. Together, these findings contribute to our understanding of the importance of ethnic networks for facilitating refugee integration, and they have implications for the design of refugee allocation policies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
NATL ACAD SCIENCES , 2019. Vol. 116, no 33, p. 16280-16285
Keywords [en]
refugees, immigration, ethnic enclaves, social networks, economic integration
National Category
Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-393612DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1820345116ISI: 000481404300027PubMedID: 31358632OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-393612DiVA, id: diva2:1355211
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 804307Available from: 2019-09-27 Created: 2019-09-27 Last updated: 2019-09-27Bibliographically approved

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