OECD Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Papers

The OECD Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Programme Papers present innovative ideas and practical examples on how to boost local development and job creation. A wide range of topics are addressed, such as employment and skills; entrepreneurship; the social economy and social innovation; culture; and local capacity building, among others. The series highlights in particular policies to support disadvantaged places and people, such as the low skilled, the unemployed, migrants, youth and seniors.

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Integration of Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Remote Areas with Declining Populations

This paper examines whether immigration can operate as a counter-process of depopulation and economic recession. Based on the comparative analysis of four case studies in Belluno (Italy), Klagenfurt-Villach (Austria), Dalarna (Sweden), and Haßberge (Germany), it analyses the key socio-economic factors explaining the successful integration of migrants, refugees, status holders and asylum seekers and examines under which conditions the arrival of newcomers can turn into a local development opportunity for these territories. The case studies feature four remote territories with the following common characteristics: they have undergone significant socio-economic transformations over the past decade, they face a population decline with an alarming outmigration of youth combined with an increasing ageing population, and central governments have channelled recent immigration and asylum seekers to peripheral areas to counterbalance negative demographic trends. Results show that integration paths undertaken by recipients differ significantly across the four territories. However, all case studies suggest that stable jobs and accommodations render remote and mountain localities attractive for refugees and status holders, who are usually more inclined to move to urban centres. Lastly, results from the case studies highlight the importance of designing individualised integration paths backed by social inclusion initiatives that can incite spontaneous collaborations and work relations with local inhabitants.


Keywords: social innovation, migrants, ageing, refugees, integration, immigration, asylum-seekers
JEL: O35: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights / Social Innovation; J08: Labor and Demographic Economics / General / Labor Economics Policies; H75: Public Economics / State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations / State and Local Government: Health; Education; Welfare; Public Pensions; J68: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers / Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies: Public Policy; J61: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers / Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers; L31: Industrial Organization / Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise / Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
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