September 2019

IZA DP No. 12635: Terrorism, Immigration and Asylum Approval

forthcoming in: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization

Using the universe of individual asylum cases in the United States from 2000-2004 and a difference-in-differences research design, we test whether Sept. 11, 2001 decreased the likelihood that applicants from Muslim-majority countries were granted asylum. Our estimates suggest that the attacks resulted in a 4 percentage points decrease in the likelihood that applicants from Muslim-majority countries are granted asylum. The estimated effect is larger for applicants who share a country of origin with the Sept. 11, 2001 attackers. These effects do not differ across judge political affiliation. Our findings provide evidence that emotions affect the decisions of judges.