Seeking asylum in Germany: Does human and social capital determine the outcome of asylum procedures? (joint work with Herbert Brücker)

The outcome and duration of asylum procedures are vital for staying perspectives of refugees, and the following economic and social integration in the host society. In principle, persecution and other forms of violation of human rights should solely determine the outcome of asylum procedures according to the Geneva convention and the asylum legislation in Europe. However, some previous evidence indicates that the asylum procedure outcome may be subject to socio-economic selectivity. If this lines up with reality, unequal chances for recognition of asylum application and length of these process may contribute to the cumulative (dis-)advantages over the life course. Using a recent longitudinal household data, the IAB-BAMF-SOEP-Survey of Refugees in Germany, we investigate whether and how human and social capital characteristics affect the duration and outcomes of the asylum procedure. Our results evidence that higher socioeconomic status and social networks’ support increase the probability of recognition of the asylum application. Throughout the analysis, we control for variables which capture the violation of human rights and other forms of violence, changes in asylum policies and country-of-origin-specific fixed effects. Our findings turn out to be robust to different specifications. Altogether, we conclude that the overarching aim of the asylum process, granting asylum to those who are in need of protection for reasons of violence and persecution seems to be diluted by social and economic factors, which are relevant for the outcomes and the length of asylum processes as well. As Germany has emerged as the dominant destination of asylum-seekers in the OECD, the study is in our view of general interest for an understanding of the forces which drive asylum procedures in developed countries.


How does the legal status and the length of asylum procedure affect the labor market integration of refugees in Germany? (joint work with Hanna Brenzel)

This study examines the role of the legal status and the lengths of asylum procedure in transition to the first employment among recently arrived refugees in Germany. We draw on the newest data from the IAB-BAMF-SOEP-Refugee Sample in which the detailed information on the timing of the last request for asylum in Germany and the results of these request as well as the date of the first job were surveyed. Applying duration models, we find that the recognition of the refugees’ status increases the transition rate into first employment in Germany. In turn, the effect of the asylum length procedure is non-linear: For a certain length, the transition rate into first employment increases with increasing length of asylum procedure. However, this positive effect diminishes with each additional month within the asylum procedure and after roughly 18 months becomes negative, i.e., the transition rate into first employment is delayed with each additional month in asylum procedure. We conclude that the refugees’ legal status is highly important for labor market entry in Germany whereas extremely long asylum procedures influence the integration process negatively. Policy makers have thus to put effort on efficient asylum procedures in order to create as fast as possible legal certainty for asylum seekers. Especially for refugees within long lasting asylum procedures, it will be necessary to increase the supply and relax the access conditions to training and labor market measures to derive maximum benefit out of this time.


Does facilitated access to health system improves physical and psychological health outcomes? Evidence from quasi-experiment (joint work with Philipp Jaschke)

As long as their asylum application is not recognized or their duration of stay does not exceed 15 months, asylum-seekers who require doctor visit have to claim it either by the local authority for foreigners or the responsible social assistance office in Germany. Since 2016 several Federal states and municipalities in Germany have launched the procedure to hand out electronic health cards (eHC) which allow immediate direct access to the health system for asylum-seekers. In this paper, we examine whether being eligible to the eHC as a result of the policy change has had an effect on the health outcomes of asylum-seekers in Germany. For empirical identification, we take advantage of the variation of the policy change across regions and over time. Relying on data from the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of refugees, we find that the introduction of the reforms allowing asylum-seekers’ faster and more direct access to the healthcare system indeed reduced the risk of emotional disorder. We conclude by discussing the potential pros and contras of a comprehensive nationwide introduction of the eHC for asylum-seekers.

– Discussion paper –