Choice of Refugees: Economy or Polity?


Choice of Refugees: Economy or Polity?


Arts & Letters


Ph.D. International Studies

Publication Date



The direction of the refugee flow in Europe through the “European Refugee Crisis” is an important source of discussion because of its pattern since some countries are receiving extraordinarily high volumes of refugees while some others having more asylum applications. To understand the dynamics of the flow we asked the following research question: “Is the GDP per capita or the level of polity a better predictor for asylum seekers’ choice of some of the European Union countries.” Our hypothesis was “the polity level is a better predicter for asylum seekers’ country choice.” For this project, we used data for numbers of refugees and asylum seekers according to their arrival countries from “United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees” web site, GDP per capita data from “International Monetary Fund” website “and statistics on the democracy level of the countries from “The Economist Journal.” The data we used were primarily obtained from quantitative evidence analysis processes. We evaluated the data through linear regression analysis to explain whether the correlation between asylum application and GDP per capita is higher than the correlation between asylum application and polity level of the related country. Our findings indicate that the refugee flow cannot be easily labeled as “economic migration.” The first country where the refugees arrived or the one which gets the highest volume does not always receive more asylum applications than the others. The refugees keep on moving towards different countries even after they got the basic protection they desired, however, it is not always towards a more prosperous country but also to a country with a higher level of democracy.


Choice of Refugees: Economy or Polity?