In the Middle East, countries that host large numbers of Syrian refugees now are taking active steps to encourage their return. Meanwhile, NGOs have started to consider steps to aid refugees in going home. Do refugees want to go back to Syria? And if so, when and how? IPL researchers surveyed Syrians in Lebanon to find out. The results can help inform the humanitarian and policy response to future refugee crises.
Social media companies are keenly focused on ridding their platforms of hateful speech and harassment. But content moderation can only capture a small fraction of it, and automatic filters can risk censoring ordinary users. Another approach is to counter these messages with opposing points. IPL researchers tested various kinds of counterspeech on Twitter, and they found that messages invoking empathy worked better than any other—they led authors of hate speech to discontinue their posts and even delete old ones.
Immigration Policy Lab researchers at ETH Zurich leveraged big data from recruitment platforms and machine learning to study discrimination in hiring. After analyzing anonymized data on recruiter decision-making and which candidates were contacted, they showed that immigrant job seekers were 6.5 percent less likely to be contacted as compared with Swiss job seekers with otherwise identical characteristics.
Whether you do academic research or nonprofit work, you've probably experienced the challenges that come with conducting surveys. It's difficult to keep in touch with study participants or clients over time, and surveys can be expensive and time-consuming. IPL found a solution in WhatsApp, which allows respondents to fill out a survey through automated messages on their mobile phones.
Most of the world's refugees live in developing countries. Those countries are largely overlooked in the research on dynamics between refugees and the communities hosting them. IPL conducted a survey in Jordan, one of the top destinations for Syrian refugees. It found that most Jordanians have strong humanitarian concern for the refugees, even though they believe the refugee crisis has strained their economy and social services.
When refugees are resettled in the United States, they're assigned to live in a specific location. But many refugees move to a different state within their first several years in the country. What are they looking for? According to a new dataset on nearly 450,000 refugees, they mostly seek two things that will help them rebuild their lives: better job markets and others from their home country.
Two immigrants apply for citizenship, and one is narrowly approved while the other just barely misses out. How does this chance decision affect their lives more than a decade later? According to IPL research, the immigrant who became a citizen is likely to earn more money than the one who remained a permanent resident. And for immigrants who work in lower-skill jobs or who face discrimination in the job market, citizenship delivers an even bigger boost to their earnings over the long term.