International Handbook on the Economics of Migration
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International Handbook on the Economics of Migration

Edited by Amelie F. Constant and Klaus F. Zimmermann

Migration economics is a dynamic, fast-growing research area with significant and rising policy relevance. While its scope is continually extending, there is no authoritative treatment of its various branches in one volume. Written by 44 leading experts in the field, this carefully commissioned and refereed Handbook brings together 28 state-of-the-art chapters on migration research and related issues.
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Chapter 24: Refugee and asylum migration

Timothy J. Hatton


Refugees are a distinct class of migrants – those whose principal motive for migration is to escape from war and oppression. Although these are often overlooked in the economic analysis of migration, the numbers are substantial. In 1992 there were nearly 18 million refugees in the world, amounting to 11 percent of the total migrant stock. By 2009 that number had decreased to 9 million or about 4 percent of the migrant stock. But because of the circumstances that they face, refugees have an importance beyond the mere numbers. In Western countries, asylum seekers have been a major focus of attention and there has been a vigorous debate over asylum policies. The literature reviewed in this chapter concentrates largely on those who have sought sanctuary in the developed world and it focuses on issues that have much in common with the migration literature. But it also gives prominence to the evolution of policy – both its underlying causes and its effects.

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