Date of Award

Fall 12-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Political Science


Political Science

Major Professor

Dr. Michael G. Huelshoff

Second Advisor

Dr. Christine L. Day

Third Advisor

Dr. Edward E. Chervenak


What explains the variations in refugee status granting among states? How is refugee status determined? The purpose of the study is to analyze if politics affect refugee status granting to asylum-seekers. Despite the political implications revolving around refugee issues, forced migration studies are still a neglected topic in international relations research. However, scholarly works that focus on forced migration often overlook broad political themes, and do not thoroughly examine how politics affect refugee status rates across countries. This dissertation examines state responses to forced migration. It quantitatively investigates the research questions across countries between 2000 and 2013. It argues state interests affect refugee recognition rates. Specifically, it hypothesizes that bilateral relations between states and the domestic politics of the host state affect refugee recognition rates. This study finds rival host states grant refugee status recognition rates greater than non-rival host states. The results also find refugee status rates increase in dyads that are in alliances compared to dyads that are not in similar pacts. It also finds asylum rates decrease as bilateral trade increases. Most of the models show the more democratic a state becomes, the less asylum is granted. However, the results also demonstrate democracies grant asylum slightly more than non-democracies, and autocracies grant asylum less compared to non-autocracies. However, opposite results are found for democracies and autocracies that are not signatories of the 1951 Refugee Convention or the 1967 Protocol. The study also finds minimal support for refugee recognition rates decreasing during years of national, executive elections. While the results did not find support for all hypotheses, this study concludes that on average, political and commercial relations between states affect refugee recognition rates.


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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.