Measuring the cost of integrating refugees

Even during times of economic prosperity, the integration of people with a non-Western background in the Nordic labour market is tricky.

Without work, refugees become costly for society in both the short and long-term. The stream of refugees into the region in recent years has exacerbated the situation. A special edition of the journal Nordic Economic Policy Review looks at the reasons for and consequences of this.

The journal collates articles from well-known researchers from throughout the Nordic Region in an attempt to shed light on the problem, with a clear focus on refugees. Earlier research looked primarily at all those from a foreign background, not just refugees.

The topic of the journal is especially relevant at the moment, and therefore also rather sensitive. One of the authors, Joakim Ruist from the University of Gothenburg, notes in the introduction to his article that research into the social cost of refugees and their social benefit if they are well integrated in the receiving country is often used for political purposes, and angled differently depending on political preferences. It is therefore important to consider carefully what kind of studies researchers embark upon and publish.

“As researchers, our work is not to scrutinise anything and everything, from every conceivable point of view, just because we can,” writes Ruist. “We have to be sure that our research really is useful. We need to be precise about each and every detail so that the usefulness of the research is made clear. Furthermore, we have to ensure that communication surrounding the research makes its usefulness clear to readers.”

The journal is being launched in conjunction with a seminar at Nordic House at the Secretariat to the Nordic Council of Ministers in Copenhagen on 26 April.

The seminar is open to the public.

The seminar will be held in English.