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The Washington Post talks to the RSC’s Dr Will Jones and Dr Alex Teytelboym of INET Oxford

The RSC’s Dr Will Jones and Dr Alexander Teytelboym of The Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET Oxford) have been speaking with The Washington Post about their interesting proposal for a ‘matching system’ for refugees and states to ameliorate the current crisis. This system would use an algorithm to attempt to match refugees’ preferences with those of host countries (relating to skills, capacities etc). As Will Jones says in the interview: “refugees are as diverse as any other set of human beings. They have diverse preferences about how they wish to live, what they want to do, what skills they can bring, how they want to pursue their conception of the good. And not all communities can host all refugees equally effectively. Refugee-hosting communities have information about who they could be in the best position to host, but right now, that information doesn’t get shared.” 

The ‘matching markets’ system would enable this information to be collected and shared, it would introduce greater choice into the resettlement process for refugees, and remove the randomness in state allocation. For example, in the case of the UK, Dr Jones states “Right now, there is a lot of humanitarian goodwill in various local government associations in Britain. What the government doesn’t want to do is assign refugees to them that they can’t deal with. The British government will end up spending less money, in the immediate term, putting together refugees and communities willing to host them, and in the long term, it will end up hosting refugees that are more likely to integrate successfully.”

It is also a system that can be applied by individual governments or more widely across Europe and elsewhere. Dr Jones comments, “You could absolutely do it within one state. Matching markets have huge advantages in working out whether a certain refugee should go to Sweden or to Portugal, but also whether they should be in London or in Middlesbrough.”

Read the full interview here: Europe’s asylum system serves neither the refugees nor the countries. Here’s a new way of thinking about it

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