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We analyze the role of origin-destination-time specific policy measures in shaping the location choices of asylum seekers across European countries. We estimate a gravity equation that reflects the uncertainty that asylum seekers face concerning the chances of obtaining refugee protection, the processing time and the risk of repatriation. German efforts to expand their processing capacity are correlated with a significant increase in applications from origins with high recognition rates, which were mostly diverted away from Sweden. For Syrians, the observed variations in processing times increased applications in Germany by 16.1 percent, and led to a 35.3 percent reduction in Sweden between 2014 and 2015.
refugees; recognition rate; processing time; gravity equations; migration; safe countries of origin