The Political Economy of Migration and Integration: Effects of Immigrants on the Economy in Turkey


Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, vol.19, no.4, pp.364-377, 2021 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 19 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/15562948.2020.1810840
  • Journal Name: Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, CAB Abstracts, EBSCO Education Source, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Geobase, Index Islamicus, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.364-377
  • Keywords: Integration, migration, effects of immigrants on the economy in Turkey, Syrian refugees in Turkey, labor market integration of Syrian refugees, Turkish economy
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


The increase of trade wars, a shifting economy, and the multi-country interests of radical right parties keep international migration on the global agenda. Following the Syrian civil war, Turkey, which implemented an open-door policy toward Syrian refugees, is one of the most affected countries. This study uses macroeconomic indicators to empirically examine the impact of Syrian inflow on the Turkish economy. An econometric analysis, namely Engle–Granger cointegration, has been performed to investigate its effects on inflation, economic growth, and the unemployment rate for 2012–2020. The results indicate that Syrian migration into Turkey has a positive contribution to economic growth by influencing the demand for goods. This article also shows that, in the short-term, Syrian inflow leads to a rise in inflation and unemployment in Turkey. However, migration can turn out to be a positive influence on the economy, depending on how quickly accepted refugees find jobs and are integrated into the Turkish labor market. Hence, it is strongly recommended that Turkey should provide vocational education, language training, and regional support for Syrians of working-age, and also manage qualified and unskilled Syrian human resources. Moreover, bureaucratic obstacles and processes, as much as possible, should be removed for Syrian entrepreneurs and workers.