Wednesday, 11 March 2020

What Asylum and Refugee Policies Do Europeans Want? Evidence from a cross-national conjoint experiment

Presentation by Tobias Stöhr, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), DIW Berlin, IZA Network


Joint work with Anne-Marie Jeannet, Esther Ademmer, and Martin Ruhs

We analyse the structure of public preferences for asylum and refugee policy, a highly politicized issue that has attracted little scholarly attention to date. We first conceptualise the core dimensions of asylum and refugee policy and then conduct an original conjoint experiment with 12,000 respondents across eight European countries to examine how different policy designs impact public support. Our results demonstrate that Europeans are generally committed to policies that provide protection to asylum-seekers and refugees but this commitment tends to be contingent upon policy features which allow for a means of control, namely through limits or conditions. We find this pattern of preferences to be remarkably similar in both the old and more recent EU Member States that we surveyed. Our results imply that some aspects of the current model of the international refugee system are misaligned with the more control-based model that Europeans would prefer. Theorizing that policy controls such as limits and conditions function as safeguards against uncertainty, thereby compensating for a person's lack of trust in generating support for policy provision, we the study the role of political trust on citizens’ policy preferences.

Two papers for the basis of the talk: