Seminar: Towards a methodology for assessing the effects of asylum policies on asylum flows
As part of the Migration Policy Centre seminar series, Dimiter Toshkov, Jean Monnet Fellow at the Schuman Centre, will present on the research methodology for assessing the effects of asylum policies on asylum flows.
How to assess – identify and estimate – the effects of asylum policies on the flows of refugees and asylum-seekers to different countries of destination? This question is of crucial importance for understanding migration governance and for designing effective policy interventions, but we currently lack a rigorous methodology for assessing the causal effects of asylum and migration policies. This paper addresses this challenge by critically reviewing existing methodologies and proposing a new approach that focuses on assessing the effects of individual policy changes rather than structural (push and pull) factors or aggregate policy indexes. We review the challenges of causal analysis in general and in the context of asylum-related migration in particular. We discuss the state-of-the-art methodologies for modeling migration flows and assessing policy effects in the field of migration. On the basis of this discussion, we propose a methodological approach that builds on the state-of-the-art and is adapted to the context of asylum-related migration in Europe. Our methodological proposal incorporates insights from two analytic methodological traditions: difference-in-differences estimation of policy effects and gravity models of trade and migration. We illustrate our proposed methodology by applying it to the case of a recent Norwegian information campaign targeting asylum-seekers, Merkel’s embrace of Syrian refugees, and some other cases of changes in asylum policies across the EU.