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  • Publication
    Integrating the asylum population and migrants into the labour market
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2020) ;
    My dissertation covers topics in the economics of migration and labour economics. I present three papers focusing on the returns to human capital of a disadvantaged population – asylum seekers and refugees – utilising a unique administrative dataset in Switzerland. The first paper investigates the bounds on employment and wage gaps between the asylum population and economic migrants. Despite the two populations sharing many similar observable characteristics, they leave their home countries for different reasons and they are treated differently upon arrival in Switzerland. Utilizing assumptions about the ratio of selection between unobservable and observable characteristics, I find that the outcome gaps persist over time. The negative selection into employment of asylum populations is an important determinant of the labour-market differences. The second paper studies the influence of linguistic proximity on labour-market integration. Exploiting the random assignment of asylum seekers to location in Switzerland, I compare outcomes of asylum seekers from different countries. Using a precise linguistic measure, I estimate the effect of phonetic similarities by language region. My findings suggest that linguistic proximity plays an important role in obtaining employment in the Romance (French and Italian) region, especially for the earlier arrival cohorts. I also find that the positive employment effect in the German region is likely attributed to selection. In the third paper, I examine the impact of waiting time to permit decisions on labour-market outcomes of the asylum population. Although asylum seekers can work during the waiting phase, the refugee status secures greater access to the labour-market through reduced restrictions to the types of occupations and residential location. Exploiting differences in the timing of granting residence permits, I present new evidence that the relative length of stay to waiting time is key to understanding the integration trajectory. Different from previous work, I find no discernible impact of the absolute years of waiting time on labour-market integration.