Refugees’ Willingness to Invest into Host-Country Specific Human Capital – Evidence from a Discrete Choice Experiment

with C. Hartmann, C. Sajons and J. Saurer (Preliminary Version)

Labor market integration has been emphasized to be crucial for economic and social inclusion
of refugees into host countries, but many refugees lack the relevant skills. In this paper, we shed light
on refugees' willingness to participate in vocational training and thus, to undertake an investment that
opens doors to a well-paid, stable job. To this end, we conduct a discrete-choice experiment with 1,279
refugees in Germany. This empirical method allows eliciting an unbiased measure of refugees' willingness
to participate in vocational training and identifying important barriers preventing refugees from doing so.
We find that refugees' willingness to participate in training lies significantly below widely cited surveybased
numbers, in particular when confronted with concrete training positions. Financial constraints and
the length of training programs constitute the biggest hurdles for refugees to participate in training, yet
there is much heterogeneity across socio-demographic backgrounds. Allowing for more
exible training schemes in terms of length and schooling requirements, has the potential to attract substantially more refugees.