Governing Migration : On the Emergence and Effects of Policies Related to the Settlement and Inclusion of Refugees

Abstract: This thesis consists of the following papers: In Paper I, I investigate the causal relationship between seat majorities for mainstream parties and refugee reception policy in Swedish municipalities. In conclusion, I find that the link between political seat majorities and refugee reception is of an associative rather than a causal nature. In order to find significant estimates, the win margin for each bloc needs to be rather substantial. Thus, the paper indicates that there is a unified political attitude over the mainstream blocs towards refugee reception and that other factors, and not political seat majorities, have contributed to the uneven distribution of refugees among municipalities in Sweden. In Paper II, I turn to focus on how stakeholders in four small-sized Swedish municipalities with diverging historical reception of refugees explain and describe their policy approach. By conducting semi-structured interviews, I find that stakeholders share a common understanding about how refugee reception has been performed locally (in terms of high or low refugee intake) and that they emphasise the importance of prior experiences rather than the composition of political parties or resources in explaining their current policy approach. In Paper III, which is co-authored with Henrik Andersson, we investigate whether asylum seekers react to changes in migration policy by assessing the effects of a Swedish regulatory change implemented in 2013. Using high-frequency data with information on the weekly number of asylum seekers, we find that refugees do react very rapidly, even within a week, but that the effects were temporary. We also find that the Swedish change of policy affected the distribution of Syrian asylum seekers in Europe in a significant manner as well as the characteristics of the Syrian population of refugees coming to Sweden. In Paper IV, which is co-authored with Darrel Robinson, we investigate the effects of residency status on the labour market participation of refugees. Using a full-population database, we show that residency status has a short-term effect on labour market participation among Syrian refugees, indicating that those granted temporary residency are more active in the labour market. However, those granted permanent residency are more likely to participate in education.