Immigration and the Neighborhood : Essays on the Causes and Consequences of International Migration

Abstract: Essay 1 (with Kristoffer Jutvik): This paper uses quasi-experimental evidence to understand how changes in migration policy affect the number of asylum seekers. We look specifically at a sudden, regulatory change in the Swedish reception of Syrian asylum seekers. The change took place in September 2013, and implied that all Syrian asylum seekers would be granted permanent, instead of temporary residence permits. Using high frequency data and an interrupted time series set-up, we study the extent to which this change caused more Syrian citizens to apply for asylum in Sweden, and how the change affected the distribution of asylum seekers in Europe. Results show that the change in policy almost doubled the number of asylum seekers from Syria within 2013, with a significant jump in numbers already within the first week after the implementation of the policy. While this also decreased the share of asylum seekers to other large recipient countries (Germany), the effects were highly temporary.Essay 2: In this paper I estimate the causal effect of ethnic enclaves on the probability of self-employment. To account for neighborhood selection I make use of a refugee dispersal program. Results indicate that larger ethnic enclaves, measured as the share of self-employed coethnics in the municipality immigrants first arrive into, affect the probability of self-employment positively, while the share of all other coethnics has a negative effect. Results however also indicate that there is a long term economic penalty to being placed with a larger share of self-employed coethnics, an effect which is partly mediated through the choice of self-employment.Essay 3 (with Heléne Berg and Matz Dahlberg): In this paper we investigate the migration behavior of the native population following foreign (refugee) immigration, with a particular focus on examining whether there is any support for an ethnically based migration response. If ethnicity is the mechanism driving the change in natives' migration behavior, our maintained hypothesis is that native-born individuals who are more ethnically similar to arriving refugees should not change their migration behavior to the same extent as native-born individuals with native-born parents (who are ethnically quite different from refugees). Using rich geo-coded register data from Sweden, spanning over 20 consecutive years, we account for possible endogeneity problems  with an improved so-called ``shift-share" instrumental variable approach; in particular, our strategy combines policy-induced initial immigrant settlements with exogenous contemporaneous immigration as captured by refugee shocks. We find no evidence of neither native flight nor native avoidance when studying the full population. We do, however, find native flight among individuals who are expected to be more mobile, and within this group, we find that all natives, irrespective of their parents' foreign background, react similarly to increased immigration. Our results therefore indicate that preferences for ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods may not be the dominant channel inducing flight. Instead our estimates indicate that immigration leads to more socio-economically segregated neighborhoods. This conclusion can have important implications for the ethnically based tipping point literature.Essay 4 (with Matz Dahlberg): In this paper we examine the short-run housing market effects of refugee immigration to Sweden. Given that Sweden is a major refugee receiving country, it constitutes an interesting and important case to study. To deal with the endogeneity resulting from the refugees' location choices, we use an econometric specification that includes neighborhood fixed effects and an instrumental variable that is based on a historical settlement pattern mainly determined by a refugee placement policy. We find that refugee immigration to small neighborhoods has no average effect on changes in housing prices in that neighborhood. We find a positive effect on increased housing supply, measured as the number of objects on sale. The zero effect of immigration on housing prices stands in contrast to the negative results found in earlier studies. We hypothesize that the reason is due to different preferences for homogeneity in Sweden, and/or to institutional features in the Swedish rental sector.