On the Selection of Asylum Seekers in Germany: Evidence from Individual and Parental Human Capital
This study provides evidence on the selection of recently arrived asylum seekers from Middle Eastern and African countries in Germany. We define selection in terms of human capital and use years of schooling as an indicator. We assess selection on human capital of both asylum seekers and their parents relative to same-aged persons in their countries of origin. Our findings suggest that, on average, asylum seekers have 22 percent more human capital than same-aged persons from their home country. Selection in parental human capital is, on average, even higher. However, despite this positive selection, human capital seems to be polarized. Asylum seekers often accumulated rather low or relatively high levels of human capital compared to same-aged persons in their countries of origin. This phenomenon is even more pronounced in the distribution of parental human capital. The paper discusses potential economic as well as non-economic explanations for this finding. In addition, it is demonstrated that individual and parental human capital are correlated with short-run integration outcomes in Germany.
Friedhelm Pfeiffer is deputy head of the research department "Labour Markets, Human Resources and Social Policy", Centre for European Economic Research, Mannheim, and a lecturer at the University of Mannheim, Department of Economics. Since 2009, Friedhelm Pfeiffer is a member of the section Economics of Education of the German Economic Association. Since 2016 he is a member of the board of the Real World Laboratory Asylum Seekers. In his research, Friedhelm Pfeiffer examines human capital formation over the life cycle, intergration dynamics and the effectiveness of education, integration and labour market policies.
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