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Settlement policies and the economic success of immigrants


Many countries use settlement policies to direct the inflow of immigrants away from immigrant dense areas. We evaluate a reform of Swedish immigration policy that featured the dispersion of refugee immigrants, but also a change in the approach to labor market integration. We focus on how immigrants fared because of the policy. The evaluation indicates that immigrants experienced substantial long run losses. The bulk of the effect stems from a common component that affected immigrants regardless of location. We interpret the common component as being related to a shift in policy focus, from labor market assimilation to income support.

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Correspondence to Per-Anders Edin.

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All correspondence to Per-Anders Edin. We thank two anonymous referees, Magnus Löfström, seminar participants at the Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation (IFAU), Uppsala University, Stockholm University, the Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI), and the CEPR conference on “Marginal Labour Markets in Metropolitan Areas” for valuable comments and Lisa Fredriksson for expert data assistance. We are also grateful to Sven Hjelmskog, Roland Jansson, Stig Kattilakoski, Christina Lindblom, Anders Nilsson, Kristina Sterne, and Lena Axelsson of the Immigration Board, and Anna Gralberg of the Ministry of Culture, who generously found time to answer our questions. This research has been partly financed through a grant from the Swedish Council for Work Life Research (RALF). Responsible editor: Christoph M. Schmidt.

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Edin, PA., Fredriksson, P. & Åslund, O. Settlement policies and the economic success of immigrants. J Popul Econ 17, 133–155 (2004).

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JEL classification

  • J15
  • J18
  • R23

Key words

  • Immigration
  • settlement policies
  • labor market outcomes