Refugees, not economic migrants: Why do asylum seekers register in Hungary?

Andras Tetenyi, Tamas Barczikay, Balázs Szent-Iványi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article analyses why asylum‐seekers choose Hungary as an entry point to the European Union. Among the Central and Eastern European countries Hungary has been by far the most popular choice for asylum‐seekers between 2002 and 2016, yet surprisingly, it has been neglected by the literature. Using a panel dataset and fixed effects regressions, the article finds that beyond being ‘conveniently’ located on the Balkans migration route, variables related to Hungary's immigration policy are the most significant determinants of asylum‐seeker choices. The article finds no evidence to support recent claims by the Hungarian government that arrivals to the country are actually economic migrants and not asylum‐seekers; quite the contrary, the results indicate that on average asylum‐seekers entering Hungary are fleeing violent conflict in their countries of origin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-340
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Migration
Issue number5
Early online date18 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2018 The Authors. International Migration © 2018 IOM. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Tétényi, A. , Barczikay, T. and Szent‐Iványi, B. (2018), Refugees, not Economic Migrants ‐ Why do Asylum‐Seekers Register in Hungary?. Int Migr, which has been published in final form at  This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

Funding: Emberi Eroforrások Minisztériuma. Grant Number: UNKP 17‐4


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