Do Immigrants Bring Crime? A Lesson From a Natural Experiment

Murat Mercan , Gebze Technical University
Nazire Begen

Most recent Syrian refugees are hosted in Turkey, which has more than 3.6 million people. In this study, we investigated the impact of refugees on the host country’s crime rate in the context of Syrian refugee flow into Turkey. Using statistics from Turkish penal institutions from 2010 to 2014, we applied the difference-in-difference estimation method. In addition, we implemented a synthetic control group for the analysis, in addition to commonly used control regions in the previous literature. We also conducted various different robustness exercises to examine the relevance of the results. Our results suggest that the refugee influx into our sampled cities in Turkey does not have a statistically significant impact on the crime rate when compared to the control locations. All the regression results in the robustness exercises reflect our main results. Our findings suggest that Syrian refugees did not statistically increase crime rates in Turkey.

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 Presented in Session 189. Flash Session: New and Pressing Immigration Issues