This thesis analyses the labor market impacts associated with hosting Syrian refugees in Jordan through the Syrian conflict. We provide a critical analysis of the sentiment that ‘the refugees are better off than we are.’ This sentiment derives from the perception that the poor economic conditions are the fault of refugees, because they take jobs from native citizens, or because of the international humanitarian aid that refugees receive. We suggest that this perception is a ‘false narrative’ which does not accurately describe the many causes of economic hardships in Jordan, thereby misplacing blame on refugees. The article analyzes the structural barriers to work faced by refugees, deriving from the Jordanian government’s evolving refugee policy as informed by a history of hosting waves of refugees. These barriers, as well as demographic characteristics, statistical discrimination, and a rigid and inflexible nationality-based sorting of groups into specific sectors of the economy all establish Syrian refugees as imperfect substitutes to Jordanian and existing migrant labor. These context-based market rigidities undermine the extent to which refugees can ‘take’ the jobs of preexisting workers. Using a difference in differences (DID) approach to analyze data from the 2010 and 2016 Jordan Labor Market Panel Survey (JLMPS), we demonstrate the complexities of the labor market effects of hosting refugees.


Moledina, Amyaz




International Relations | Labor Economics | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Political Economy | Social and Behavioral Sciences


refugees, employment, migration, Jordan, Syrian refugees, discrimination, difference in differences

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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