Mathilde Emeriau (London School of Economics) (webinar)
13 May 2021 @ 14:00 - 15:15
“Learning to be Unbiased: Evidence from the French Asylum Office”
Abstract: What determines whether some asylum seekers are granted refugee status while others are rejected? I draw upon archival records from a representative sample of 4,142 asylum applications filed in France between 1976 and 2016 to provide new evidence on the determinants of asylum decisions. I find that applicants who are Christian (rather than Muslim), and who have higher skill levels or educational attainment, are more likely to be granted refugee status, controlling for all other individual characteristics available to the asylum officers making the decisions. However, linking archival records to detailed administrative data, I also show that bureaucrats at the French asylum office stop discriminating after about a year on the job. These findings have implications for strategies to curtail discrimination in courtrooms and administrations.
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