Quantifying the Economic, Linguistic, and Social Benefits for Refugees Participating in a Federal German Integration Course


Claire M. Cai



In 2005, the German government introduced various integration courses in order to better support migrants and refugees. Since 2010, the refugee population in Germany has exponentially increased, particularly after Chancellor Merkel’s 2015 decision to admit more than one million refugees. This study evaluates the efficacy of these integration courses by examining the extent to which participation in these integration courses increases a participant’s economic, linguistic, and social integration. 4,252 responses from the IAB-SOEP-BAMF 2016 Survey for Adult Refugees are in this cross-sectional dataset. I perform logit regressions and incorporate country of birth dummy variables as a robustness check to estimate such benefits for those in my sample. This paper finds that participation in both the general integration course (GIC) and ESF-BAMF (ESF) course highly statistically significantly increases the likelihood of self-evaluating German language proficiency. However, while participation in the GIC increases social integration, participation in the ESF integration course decreases social integration, although this result might only show the initial effects of ESF course participation. When evaluating economic integration, participation in integration courses produces mixed results, but again, tracking survey respondents over time would clarify this result. These findings imply that integration courses are effective in promoting German language integration, but they have a more ambiguous impact on social and economic integration.