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Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees

Lamis Abdelaaty, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Syracuse University

Friday, February 14, 2020

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Bunche Hall, Room 10383

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Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees

What explains state responses to the refugees they receive?  This project identifies two puzzling patterns in state responses to refugees: states open their borders to some refugee groups while blocking others (the “discrimination puzzle”), and a number of countries have given the UN control of asylum procedures and refugee camps on their territory (the “delegation puzzle”).  I develop a two-part framework in which policymakers in refugee-receiving countries weigh international and domestic concerns. At the international level, policymakers consider relations with the refugee-sending country. At the domestic level, policymakers consider political competition among ethnic groups.  When these international and domestic incentives conflict, shifting responsibility to the UN allows policymakers to placate both refugee-sending countries and domestic constituencies.


Lamis Abdelaaty is an assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University. Her research interests include international relations, human rights and humanitarianism, and asylum and migration. She holds a doctoral degree in politics from Princeton University and a master’s degree in political science from McGill University, as well as a master’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from the American University in Cairo.

Sponsor(s): Center for Study of International Migration

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