Explaining Local Swedish Refugee Policy

  • Gustav LidénEmail author
  • Jon Nyhlén


In the Swedish migration system, the local level plays a crucial role since the municipalities have full autonomy to accept or decline refugees. This has created a considerable variation in numbers of immigrants among municipalities, and there is a large variation in local societies' willingness to receive refugees. In this study, we focus on all the Swedish municipalities for a time span of several years and derive from economic, demographic, socio-cultural, and explanatory factors that have been put forward in earlier research. Through quantitative analysis, we can show how income, the unemployment rate, population, and support for the right-wing party negatively vary with the willingness to receive refugees. Moreover, the distribution of income results in the opposite significant direction. These results, partly contradicting theory, show the importance of a nuanced and holistic theoretical base in further research.


Refugee policy Migration Local government Sweden 



An earlier draft of this manuscprit was presented at the annual meeting of the Swedish Political Science Association in Växjö 2012. We would like to thank Svante Ersson and the three anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier drafts of this manuscpript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesMid Sweden UniversitySundsvallSweden

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