Project duration:

10 weeks



In recent years, the issue of refugee resettlement has been one of the biggest policy questions in developed countries such as Australia. Previous research has focussed largely on the economic impact of resettling refugees. Less attention has been given to the social effects of resettlement, as well as the factors influencing the resettlement decisions and experiences of the refugees themselves.


This project extends previous work by conducting an extensive descriptive panel analysis of the lives of both offshore and onshore humanitarian migrants. The focus is on employment/income, health outcomes and perceptions of life in Australia. This analysis will identify which factors correlate with or predict more positive settlement outcomes, which will then further be used to motivate improved policies on resettlement strategies.


Using brand new panel data from Australia, the project will analyse outcome, mitigating and explanatory variables such as:

  • The level of trust between different communities, groups and organisations
  • Refugees’ experience of discrimination
  • Levels of support from national, religious, and other community groups
  • Involvement in community activities and civic participation
  • The experience of deprivation or trauma
  • Time spent and type of services accessed in refugee camps, Australian immigration detention or Community Detention
  • Reasons for migrating to Australia
  • Social networks available upon arrival
  • Settlement experiences by boat or plane arrival


Expected outcomes and deliverables:

The student will gain skills in applied economics and how it can be used to answer social science and policy questions. The student will also earn experience in data manipulation and the identification of causal effects. There is the possibility that continued collaboration will develop into scientific journal publications.


Suitable for:

This project is particularly suited to students with a strong interest in applied economics and refugee policy. Familiarity with statistical software for data manipulation, particularly Stata, is desirable.


The student will conduct research into news related to refugees in the relevant years for which we have data, to identify whether there are exogenous shocks that could be exploited (such as a policy change for offshore detention, terrorist attacks, etc). This will involve research into major news and media sources, as well as a literature review of relevant academic articles.

Primary Supervisor:


Dr David Smerdon


Further info:

Contact: Dr David Smerdon

07 334 67047