The Local Refugee Match: Aligning Refugees’ Preferences with the Capacities and Priorities of Localities

William Jones, Alexander Teytelboym

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Once refugees are granted protection in a particular host country, there is little concern about where in that country they are settled. Yet this matters enormously for refugees’ chances to prosper in the new country and for the willingness of the local community to welcome them. We propose a centralized clearinghouse—a ‘two-sided matching system’—to match refugees with localities. Drawing on the success of matching in domains such as public school choice, we outline principles underlying matching-system design, and illustrate in general terms how they could be applied to refugee protection. This matching system respects the priorities and capacities of localities and gives agency to refugees. As an example, we describe in detail how such a system could work to meet the British government’s commitment to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152–178
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
Issue number2
Early online date16 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

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