The Macro-Economic Impacts of Syrian Refugee Aid

Tobias Schillings

Forced Migration Review 58, June 2018, pp. 43-44


This article describes a recent study of the macroeconomic impact of humanitarian assistance in response to the Syrian crisis, which finds significant positive impacts for economic growth and job creation in the region. The core response of the international community to the Syrian crisis is the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), which builds on plans developed by national authorities in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The study estimates the potential GDP impact based on ‘fiscal multipliers (e.g. a 2015 study of Lebanon found that each dollar of refugee aid generated an additional 0.6 dollars of revenue, making the multiplier 1.6). Using historic data to quantify the relationship between changes in unemployment and output at the macroeconomic level for each country, the study translated the national GDP impact into expected job creation. The study estimated that with a total spend over 2017 and 2018 of about $9 billion, the 3RP is projected to generate a $17–25 billion increase in GDP and 75,000–110,000 jobs. This contribution to GDP and jobs has mostly been overlooked in public discourse yet offers a powerful narrative for policymakers to foster social cohesion among host communities.