Tuesday, 12 March 2019

How Can Democracies Facilitate the Integration of Newcomers? Building an Evidence and Innovation Agenda for Applied Migration Research

Lecture by Jens Hainmueller

Migration is one of the defining challenges of the 21st century. Many countries in Europe and North America have experienced a stark increase in the size and diversity of their immigrant and refugee populations. Reeling and reactive, governments are struggling to facilitate their successful integration. Much is at stake in this process. With the right approach, governments can set up immigrants for success and thereby strengthen the economy and enrich civil society. Above that, policies that block integration, whether inadvertently or by design, can pave the way for societal ills that may persist for generations: inequality, health disparities, increasing costs of social services, and economic stagnation. These are the conditions that help sustain political polarization and threats to democracy.

Policymakers responding to the integration challenge often don’t know where to start or what programs work best, and there’s little solid evidence and expertise to guide them. It’s all too easy to leave immigration to ideological knuckle fights rather than collaborative problem-solving and scientific inquiry.

In this talk, I will describe some of the efforts that my research group at the Stanford Immigration Policy Lab (IPL) has undertaken to make headway against these obstacles. This involves our collaborative efforts to build an evidence base for what works and what doesn’t, by studying the impacts of policies and programs (including employment bans, asylum wait times, language training, health programs, etc.). It also involves embracing experimentation, by building partnerships with governments and nonprofits to co-design and test new approaches (including data-driven refugee placement, co-sponsorship, etc.).

Jens Hainmueller is Professor of Political Science and Business at Stanford University.

The event is part of the Democracy Research Lecture Series”.