Who gets asylum? The impact of traits and biases on bureaucrats' decision making.

What is the aim of the research project?

The researcher’s main purpose is to investigate the outcome of asylum applications, and to what extent these are affected by traits and biases among the bureaucrats. Earlier research provides insights about the causes and consequences of migration, but according to the researchers, less attention has been directed to the intermediate bureaucratic process deciding who gets asylum.

The researchers will study how similarity based on gender between case workers and applicants, and external events such as terror attacks affect the outcome of asylum claims at the Swedish Migration Agency (SMA). They will also study the relation between case workers’ career trajectories and asylum assessments.

The project will employ quantitative methods, relying on a database including all asylum cases from 2009-2018, but the researchers will also perform interviews with agents within the SMA. The project will be carried out by a research group with extensive knowledge on asylum policy and advanced methodological designs.

Knowledge about what factors influence the asylum decisions are important in order to correct any discrepancies and safeguard equal considerations of asylum cases. Considering the contemporary migration flows, such knowledge is of great relevance both in Sweden and internationally.

The research group will compile a high-quality database, which can serve as a resource for further investigations into the topic. Such data is not easily accessible today, partly due to reasons of confidentiality, but in order to answer important research questions, scholars need access to detailed data.

research team 

Henrik Andersson

Linna Martén 

Kristoffer Jutvik

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Last modified: 2021-06-09