Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics

No 05-3: The Danish Dispersal Policy on Refugee Immigrants 1986-1998: A Natural Experiment?

Anna Piil Damm ()
Additional contact information
Anna Piil Damm: Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, Postal: The Aarhus School of Business, Prismet, Silkeborgvej 2, DK 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Abstract: This paper investigates whether the Danish Dispersal Policy on new refugee immigrants carried out from 1986 to 1998 can be regarded as a natural experiment. Were refugees randomly assigned to a location? The main findings are as follows. First, around 90% of new refugees were assigned to a location. Second, the dispersal policy successfully distributed new refugees equally across locations relative to the number of inhabitants in a location. Third, the actual settlement may have been influenced by six refugee characteristics. I conclude that the initial location of new refugees 1986-1998 may be regarded as random, when controlling for family status, need of treatment, educational needs, location of close family and friends and nationality at the time of immigration as well as year of immigration.

Keywords: Dispersal Policies; Refugee Immigrants; Natural Experiments

JEL-codes: J15; R23

47 pages, September 2, 2005

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