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The Effect of Initial Placement Restrictions on Refugees' Language Acquisition in Germany

SOEPpapers 1035, 46 S.

Felicitas Schikora


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This paper analyzes the effect of a recently introduced policy reform on participation in integration courses and on certified language proficiency levels among refugees in Germany. The residence rule restricts initial residence for refugees with a permanent residence permit. Given that treatment intensity varies distinctly across states, I utilize this quasi-experiment and apply a difference-in-differences approach. Using an innovative data-set, the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees, I find that stricter statutory provisions have a positive effect on the probability to complete a language course and on the level of certified language proficiency. The results indicate that this effect is driven partly by spatial mismatch.

JEL-Classification: J15;J60;K37
Keywords: Migration, Refugees, Language Acquisition, Placement Restriction, Quasi-Experiment
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