Syrian refugees to Europe: are they different from the non-Syrians?
The conflict and violence in the Syrian Arab Republic have led to an increase in Syrians seeking asylum in European countries. In this study, asylum applications of Syrian refugees to European countries are examined, taking into account the geographical neighborhood effects, with annual data for the time period from 2009 to 2018. This paper also aims to compare asylum applications of Syrian to non-Syrian refugees. The estimation results suggest that positive previous asylum application decisions by the corresponding countries have explanatory power on asylum applications of Syrian and non-Syrian refugees. Economic conditions impact on asylum applications of non-Syrian refugees, while similar statistical evidence cannot be found for Syrian refugees. The empirical evidence from Syrian refugees also indicates a positive geographical neighborhood effect, which suggests that the relationship is stronger in countries that are closer to each other. However, the findings from non-Syrian refugees do not indicate that neighboring observations affect one another. Overall, this suggests that Syrian refugees do not move according to economic incentives but with previous asylum applications that resulted in positive and asylum applications in neighboring countries.