Does Municipality Size Matter for the Successful Integration of Refugees? Evidence From Norway

Marianne Tønnessen , Statistics Norway
Synøve N. Andersen, Statistics Norway
Alicia Adsera, Princeton University

Small places can have many advantages when it comes to integration of refugees: In a more close-knit community, people may take more care of newcomers, it may be easier to get to know the society, and the barriers to participating in natives’ activities may be lower. On the other hand, small places are not necessarily welcoming to foreigners, and cities may have larger ethnic enclaves as well as better access to employment and education opportunities that may facilitate the integration of refugees who settle in them. Using a settlement policy where a central agency assigned refugees to municipalities across Norway rather than refugees choosing freely, this study aims at estimating the causal effect of being placed in different types of municipalities. Rich register data allows us to study several outcomes, including employment, earnings, education and onward migration. We also explore moderator effects in different subgroups of refugees.

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 Presented in Session 7. Migration & Urbanization