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The economic effects of refugee return and policy implications

This paper looks at the question of returning asylum seekers and refugees from the economic perspective in the advanced countries that receive refugees: is return in their economic interest?

By: Date: November 14, 2017 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

This publication was originally published by OCP Policy Centre

According to the European Union over a million rejected asylum seekers have been ordered to return to their country of origin from Europe alone, or will be soon. To these could be added refugees that have been given temporary shelter but who could be asked to return once conditions in their home country improve. The debate on returning asylum seekers and refugees is nearly always cast in political, legal and humanitarian terms. This paper looks at the question of return strictly from the economic perspective in the advanced countries that receive refugees: is return in their economic interest? Considering all the main economic dimensions – fiscal, economic growth and labor market impact – the answer, for most advanced countries is no. The costs of hosting refugees are front-loaded, while the benefits of hosting them, which are considerable, only accrue over time.

The paper also argues that – on economic grounds alone –mass voluntary return of refugees to their country of origin is highly unlikely even when conditions improve. Development agencies can help countries that are the largest source of refugees recover once conflicts abate and help prevent new refugee crises occurring in the future. However, the expectation that they will promote the return of refugees is unrealistic. Development agencies should not place refugee return as a central objective of their efforts.

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Past Event

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Financing for Pandemic Preparedness and Response

How can we better prepare for future pandemics? In this event, co-hosted by the Center for Global Development and Bruegel think tanks, speakers will present "A Global Deal for Our Pandemic Age", a report of the G20 High Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.

Speakers: Masood Ahmed, Victor J. Dzau, Amanda Glassman and Lawrence H. Summers Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation, Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: July 14, 2021
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Commercialisation contracts: European support for low-carbon technology deployment

To cut the cost of decarbonisation significantly, the best solution would be to provide investors with a predictable carbon price that corresponds to the envisaged decarbonisation pathway.

By: Ben McWilliams and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Date: July 1, 2021
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What challenges and opportunities does technology bring to the labour market?

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Prospects for improving securities and financial reporting oversight in the EU

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Speakers: Nicolas Véron and Eva Wimmer Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: May 26, 2021
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Urgent reform of the EU resolution framework is needed

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By: Mathias Dewatripont, Lucrezia Reichlin and André Sapir Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: April 16, 2021
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