Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department




Faculty Mentor Department


Faculty Mentor

Ranjan Shrestha

Subject Categories

Other Economics


As Europe continues to face the largest flood of immigration since World War II, the foundational solidarity of the European Union (EU) is being severely strained under the burden of allocating such a massive population influx and the subsequent issues resulting from complex and divisive notions of national responsibility, cooperation, and integration. In struggling to find a cooperative solution to this refugee crisis, a greater understanding of the destination country characteristics that shape the asylum application preference would be highly beneficial for policy makers and EU citizens. In examining the relative influences of these pull factors I implement a fixed effects regression model in which I analyze the response of monthly asylum applications over the period of 2008-2014 to differences in destination country characteristics such as income opportunities, welfare benefits, the unemployment rate, the strength of various production sectors, and the existing immigrant stock. In line with previous literature examining migration preference, I find that network effects exert a strong upward pressure while the unemployment rate exerts a downward pressure. However, my results show that a country’s welfare benefits exert a statistically significant and stronger upward pressure than previously found. These findings shed light on the lack of convergence in asylum applications as they indicate asylum seekers are influenced by the economic conditions of destination countries, although historical migration networks tend to play a larger role in the destination decision. As the pull factors I found to be significant are difficult for policy makers to influence, my results suggest policy makers should instead focus on EU-wide programs such as Tradable Immigration Quotas (TIQ)’s, rather than decreasing a country’s relative attractiveness.

Honors College Research Project




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