Working Paper

Does welcoming refugees attract more migrants? The myth of the ‘Merkel effect’

Kiel Working Paper, 2194 Download PDF

In 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to allow over a million asylum seekers to cross the border into Germany. One key concern at the time was that her decision would signal an open-door policy to aspiring migrants worldwide – thus, increasing migration to Germany in the long-term. With the continued global rise in forced displacement, Merkel’s decision in 2015 provides a unique case study for the fundamental question of whether welcoming migration policies have sustained effects on migration towards destination countries. We analyze an extensive range of data on migration inflows, intentions, and interest between 2000 and 2020. The results reject the “pull effect” hypothesis while reaffirming states’ capacity to adapt to changing contexts and regulate migration.


Jasper D. Tjaden


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JEL Classification
F22; F68