The dynamic relationship between asylum applications and recognition rates in Europe (1987–2010)

Dimiter Toshkov

European Union Politics (2014), vol.15, issue 2, pp.192-214


The intensity of asylum flows over the last 20 years represents a significant challenge to national and European policy making. This article studies the dynamic reciprocal effects between asylum applications and recognition rates in 29 European countries over 24 years. Furthermore, it explores the impact of the national economic and political context on these two aspects of asylum policy. Using a wide range of statistical models and approaches, the article reveals that asylum applications exert a negative effect on recognition rates, and recognition rates exert a positive effect on applications. However, despite their statistical significance, the effects are rather small and mostly related to between-country rather than within-country variation, which implies that they are of limited practical significance. Unemployment is only weakly related to recognition rates and not at all to application shares, while government positions favoring immigration and multiculturalism have no effect on asylum application shares and recognition rates.


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