Today in Refugees Deeply, Will Jones and Alex Teytelboym expand on their proposed refugee match theory, originally put forward in Forced Migration Review earlier this year. Currently, only one in every 100 refugees is accepted for permanent resettlement, mainly by the US, Canada and Australia. But not all refugees will thrive where they are resettled. As Jones and Teytelboym state, “ample research shows that where refugees end up initially really matters for their lifetime outcomes.” They argue for the use of ‘matching theory’ and associated matching markets algorithms to improve refugee resettlement decisions, as used for allocating children to schools in places such as San Francisco.
Though not a magic bullet to solve the refugee crisis, matching theory could ensure that the best matches between refugees and host communities can be found. As Jones and Teytelboym say, “What we have today is in effect a cruel and expensive lottery… It gives neither side a meaningful say. Taking refugees preferences into account and matching them to communities using smart algorithms is a small but necessary step towards a more successful and humane resettlement process.”
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Choices, preferences and priorities in a matching system for refugees