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One Wave of Reforms, Many Outputs: The Diffusion of European Asylum Policies beyond Europe

Comparative Politics
Migration
Policy Analysis
Qualitative Comparative Analysis
Asylum
Refugee
European Union
Nina Guerin
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU
Nina Guerin
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU

Abstract

Since the 1990s thirteen of the fifteen states of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) have passed reforms of their domestic asylum policies. While some of these reforms have resulted in an alignment with European asylum policies, others have failed to do so. To explain the reform of asylum policies in the ENP states, the literature has proposed a wide array of possible explanatory factors. However, current explanations remain case driven, and thus fall short of accounting for the broader variation in asylum policy reform in the EU’s neighbourhood. Building on a novel dataset covering fifteen ENP countries, this article seeks to identify the relevant drivers of alignment with European asylum policies, employing a Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). While in recent years’ various datasets on integration and immigration policies have appeared on the academic market, non-OECD states – such as the ENP states under investigation here – play only a marginal role in these datasets. To enhance our knowledge on these important policies, I have developed a dataset that allows for the cross-case comparison of asylum policies in all fifteen ENP states. Drawing on this dataset I systematically investigate the causes of asylum policy differences in ENP states. The results show that ENP states’ alignment with European asylum policies follows two distinct patterns: alignment occurs when states are electoral democracies and face moderate migratory pressures, or when they are electoral democracies and hold EU membership aspirations. This paper thus highlights the complex interplay of global as well as regional policy diffusion processes and domestic prerequisites in order to explain differences in alignment with European asylum policies across ENP states.