Various Domains of Integration of Refugees and their Interrelationships: A Study of Recent Refugee Inflows in Austria


Michael Landesmann and Sandra M. Leitner

wiiw Working Paper No. 168, November 2019
72 pages including 26 Tables and 3 Figures

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This paper addresses the complexity of, and the interrelationships between, two important aspects of integration of refugees in Austria, namely labour market integration and social integration. While labour market integration is captured in terms of being employed as compared to being unemployed or inactive, social integration distinguishes between social networks and their ethnic composition and social capital. It identifies the key determinants of each of these domains of integration and investigates the direction as well as the size of interdependencies among them. The analysis uses a unique dataset built on the basis of a survey of about 1,600 refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran who had come to Austria since 2010. The analysis establishes an important causal link between social integration and labour market integration (i.e. employment). Both social network effects with Austrians as well as with co-ethnics are important in this context but the former is more powerful than the latter. It shows that both education and length of stay are key determinants of successful labour market integration. Furthermore, tests regarding the relevance of language command for both social and labour market integration show the strong importance of speaking and understanding German, and much less so, of writing German.

Research for this paper was financed by the Anniversary Fund of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Project No. 17166). Support provided by Oesterreichische Nationalbank for this research is gratefully acknowledged.


Keywords: social integration, labour market integration, refugees, migration

JEL classification: J60, J15, Z10

Countries covered: Austria, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan

Research Areas: Labour, Migration and Income Distribution