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Refuge transforming a broken refugee system

Since its publication on 30 March, Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System by Alexander Betts (RSC Director) and Paul Collier (Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government) has been reviewed by various media. Refuge reveals how, despite the media focus on the 10% of refugees trying to make it to Europe’s shores, 90% of the world’s refugees live in developing countries, mostly in urban poverty or in camps. In light of this, Betts and Collier’s book situates Europe’s refugee crisis in a global framework, offering a concrete diagnosis for a system that has, for too long, been institutionally broken.

In its review of 15 April, The Economist states that: “‘Refuge’ is the first comprehensive attempt in years to rethink from first principles a system hidebound by old thinking and hand-wringing. Its ideas demand a hearing.”

According to The Sunday Times (23 April), Betts and Collier provide “an analysis that is at once compassionate and dispassionate, and full of bold and innovative thinking”. 

In The Times Literary Supplement (26 April), Alexander van Tulleken states that the book’s description of the origins of the refugee crisis in Europe is “superb, accessible and riveting”. He comments that the plan proposed in the book “offers a bolder and brighter vision than the barbed wire fences currently being touted as popular alternatives”, even if it omits some important issues.

In the Financial Times (27 April), James Crabtree notes that “Betts and…Collier belong to that rare breed of academic that attempts to fix world problems rather than just analysing them.” He states, quoting from the book, “‘Today, the world spends approximately $75bn a year on the 10 per cent of refugees who moved to developed regions and only around $5bn a year on the 90 per cent who remain in developing regions’, Betts and Collier write. Switch some of that money around, and think a bit more creatively, and the beginnings of a new answer can surely be found.”

Reviews have also been published by The Evening Standard (a “timely and acutely aimed polemic”), and by Standpoint magazine (“a work of politically engaged scholarship with a trenchant analysis and original solutions”).

Related content

Alexander Betts People

Paul Collier External

Can politicians solve the refugee crisis? A Politics Weekly podcast with Alexander Betts and Paul Collier News & Media

Why denying refugees the right to work is a catastrophic error News & Media

The world’s refugee system can be fixed: a ten-point plan to save lives and create hope | Alexander Betts and Paul CollieNews & Media

Why we need to change the narrative on refugees News & Media

Humanitarian Innovation Project Research