Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 79–114 | Cite as

Foreign aid, bilateral asylum immigration and development

  • Marina MuratEmail author
Original Paper


This paper measures the links between aid from 14 rich to 113 developing economies and bilateral asylum applications during the years 1993 to 2013. Dynamic panel models and Sys-Generalized Method of Moments are used. The results show that asylum applications are related to aid nonlinearly in a U-shaped fashion with respect to the level of development of origin countries, although only the downward segment proves to be robust to all specifications. Asylum inflows from poor countries are significantly and negatively associated with aid in the short run, with mixed evidence of more lasting effects, while inflows from less poor economies show a positive but non-robust relationship to aid. Moreover, aid leads to negative cross-donor spillovers. Applications linearly decrease with humanitarian aid. Voluntary immigration is not related to aid. Overall, the reduction in asylum inflows is stronger when aid disbursements are conditional on economic, institutional and political improvements in the recipient economy.


Foreign aid Asylum seekers and refugees Development 

JEL classification

F35 F22 J15 



I thank the participants to the Bari Conference, Economics of Global Interactions, 2017. I am particularly indebted to Elisabetta Lodigiani, Massimiliano Bratti, Fréderic Docquier, Anzelika Zaiceva, Clementina Crocé and three anonymous reviewers for useful suggestions.

Funding information

Financial support was received from a UNIMORE FAR 2017 Grant.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Economia ‘Marco Biagi’Università di Modena e Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly

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