Constraints on Executive Power: Explaining Variation in the Acceptance of Asylum-Seekers and Refugees
Dr Eiko Thielemann is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government and the European Institute of the London School of Economics, where he in charge of the graduate programme 'International Migration and Public Policy'. He is the director of the LSE Migration Studies Unit (MSU), a visiting professor at New York University (NYU) and has worked as an advisor to both the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Mogens Hobolth recently completed his PhD at the LSE European Institute. His PhD focussed on European visa policy specifically how member states apply the common policy in practice, and identify what factors and dynamics explain the balance struck between open and closed borders.
It is widely accepted that judicial and other constraints on executive powers have resulted in the acceptance of 'unwanted' (in contrast to targeted) immigration to liberal states. This has been shown in particular in the field of irregular migration and family migration through national case studies and small N research designs. So far, however, there has been little systematic analysis to trace variations in the constraints on executive power that exist in different destination states and how such differences have an impact on policy outcomes. This is especially so in a third area of 'unwanted immigration', namely the case of asylum-seekers and refugees. Drawing on a large-N dataset of OECD countries, this paper explores to what extent variation in non-majoritarian constraints on executive power is able to account for differences in domestic refugee law and protection extensiveness. We develop a cross-country and over time dataset combining mainly Lijphart's index of judicial review to measure constraints with the IMPALA immigration policy database and UNHCR statistics to code protection regimes. Building on these variables the paper further seeks to identify and assess the effect of different choices in the setup of appeal bodies and status determination procedures in the area of asylum.