Johannes Stroebel, New York University

The social integration of international migrants: Evidence from the networks of Syrians in Germany


We use de-identified data from Facebook to study the social integration of Syrian migrants in Germany, a country that received a large influx of refugees during the Syrian Civil War. We construct measures of migrants’ social integration based on Syrians’ friendship links to Germans, their use of the German language, and their participation in local social groups. We find large variation in Syrians’ social integration across German counties, and use a movers’ research design to document that these differences are largely due to causal effects of place.
Regional differences in the social integration of Syrians are shaped both by the rate at which German natives befriend other locals in general (general friendliness) and the relative rate at which they befriend local Syrian migrants versus German natives (relative friending). We follow the friending behavior of Germans that move across locations to show that both general friendliness and relative friending are more strongly affected by place-based effects such as local institutions than by persistent individual characteristics of natives (e.g., attitudes toward neighbors or migrants).
Relative friending is higher in areas with lower unemployment and more completed government-sponsored integration courses. Using variation in teacher availability as an instrument, we find that integration courses had a substantial causal effect on the social integration of Syrian migrants. We also use fluctuations in the presence of Syrian migrants across high school cohorts to show that natives with quasi-random exposure to Syrians in school are more likely to befriend other Syrian migrants in other settings, suggesting that contact between groups can shape subsequent attitudes towards migrants.

Johannes Stroebel is the David S. Loeb Professor of Finance at the New York University Stern School of Business. He joined NYU in 2013 from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he was the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Economics.

Professor Stroebel conducts research in climate finance, household finance, social network analysis, macroeconomics, and real estate economics. He has won numerous awards, including the AQR Asset Management Institute Young Researcher Prize and the Brattle Award for the best paper published in the Journal of Finance. He has also won an Andrew Carnegie fellowship and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Economics. Professor Stroebel is an Associate Editor at the Journal of Political Economy, the Review of Economic Studies, Econometrica, and the Journal of Finance. Professor Stroebel is also a member of the Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee at the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), as well as a member of a Working Group on Extreme Weather and Financial Risks at the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

Professor Stroebel read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Merton College, Oxford, where he won the Hicks and Webb Medley Prize for the best performance in Economics. He earned a Ph.D. in Economics at Stanford University, where he held the Bradley and Kohlhagen Fellowships at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

You can read more about Johannes Stroebel here

CEBI contact: Asger Lau Andersen