NBER

Iben Bolvig

The Danish Center for
Social Science Research (VIVE)
Olof Palmes Alle 22, DK 8200
Aarhus N
Denmark

E-Mail: IbBo@vive.dk
Institutional Affiliation: The Danish Center for Social Science Research (VIVE)

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2020Integrating Refugees: Language Training or Work-First Incentives?
with Jacob Nielsen Arendt, Mette Foged, Linea Hasager, Giovanni Peri: w26834
Social and economic integration of refugees are key to their personal fulfillment and to producing positive effects in the host country. We evaluate the impact of a reform that expanded and improved early language classes to refugees in Denmark while also temporarily lowering welfare benefits for a subgroup of them. The policy change applied to those who obtained refugee status in Denmark on or after January 1, 1999. Using a regression discontinuity design around the cutoff date we find that employment and earnings gradually diverged for the treated group after completion of the language program. The effect was significant and resulted in four percentage points permanently higher employment and almost USD 2,510 in extra yearly earnings over eighteen years. We do not find temporary or perma...

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