Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 411–430 | Cite as

Asylum seekers in Europe: the warm glow of a hot potato

  • Giovanni Facchini
  • Oliver Lorz
  • Gerald Willmann
Original Paper


The Common European Asylum System calls for increased coordination of the European Union (EU) countries’ policies towards asylum seekers and refugees. In this paper, we provide a formal analysis of the effects of coordination, explicitly modelling the democratic process through which policy is determined. In a symmetric, two-country citizen-candidate setup, in which accepting asylum seekers in one country generates a cross-border externality in the other, we show that coordination is desirable. Internalizing the externality leads to a welfare improvement over the non-cooperative outcome. However, contrary to suggestions by many observers, we show that allowing for cross-country transfers in the cooperative outcome leads to a welfare inferior outcome because the possibility of compensation exacerbates strategic delegation effects.


Political economy Asylum policy Migration 

JEL Classification

J61 H77 F22 



We are grateful to Gil Epstein who provided the impetus for this research, to two anonymous referees for insightful comments and to conference participants at the Midwest International Economics Spring 2005 meeting for helpful discussions. The usual caveat applies: all errors are ours.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Facchini
    • 1
  • Oliver Lorz
    • 2
  • Gerald Willmann
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of IllinoisChampaignUSA
  2. 2.RWTH Aachen University, International EconomicsAachenGermany
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsUniversity of KielKielGermany

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