Boosting Refugee Outcomes: Evidence from Policy, Academia, and Social Innovation
However measured, refugees are likely to face common barriers towards achieving integration in the West, including language proficiency, difficulty finding a job commensurate with their education and skills, and mental health stressors. This review draws on policy reports and academic studies (descriptive and experimental) to first answer two questions: (1) what do we know about refugee outcomes? and; (2) what factors are associated with these outcomes? I synthesize information on the individual and environmental traits associated with the socio-economic well-being of refugees — ranging from country of origin and gender to ethnic enclaves and rigid labor markets. I then survey pilots and programs aimed at integrating refugees globally, with a focus on the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The evidence base suggests that programs leveraging community support while supplementing income — such as apprenticeships, private sponsorship, and cash transfers dovetailed with financial mentorship — represent promising paths forward.