Special Research Topic
Demographic Change

Project: Germany and the 2015 Refugee Crisis

Project Duration

04/2017 - 04/2020 (current)

Commissioned by

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Project Team (RWI)

Prof. Dr. Thomas K. Bauer, Dr. Julia Bredtmann

Leader of Consortium

Prof. Dr. Michael Kvasnicka, Universität Magdeburg

Summary

During the second half of 2015 Germany witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of refugees, fueled in particular by the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic. Totaling more than one million people in 2015, this mass arrival of refugees to Germany is the largest of its kind since the early 1990s. Accommodating and providing for these forced migrants entail various challenges for Germany, both in the economic realm, and in the political, social, and legal spheres. The housing and integration of refugees puts strains on public finances, social welfare systems, the education system, as well as real estate and labor markets, and it raises issues about domestic social and political cohesion, security and crime, as well international quandaries around a fair allocation of refugees. Because of the currentness of events, however, (even most basic) data on the mass inflow of refugees to Germany and empirical evidence on the effects of this inflow are scarce. As a consequence, little is yet known on how this inflow did impact German society, domestic politics, and the economy, and how malleable, in particular, this impact has been to regional variation in economic conditions and in public policies governing the regional distribution of refuges and their type of accommodation. In this research project, we will explore this question by studying the impact of the mass inflow of refugees to Germany in four key areas: (1) electoral outcomes, (2) real estate markets, (3) anti-foreign violence and criminal activity by foreigners, as well as (4) charitable giving, both monetary, in kind, and through voluntary work.

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