Substantial variation in recognition rates for asylum claims from the same countries of origin and therefore prima facie equal merit subjects refugees to unfair and discriminatory treatment. This article demonstrates the extent of variation and lack of convergence over the period 1980 to 1999 across Western European destination countries. Refugee interest groups also suspect that political and economic conditions in destination countries as well as the number of past asylum claims unduly impact upon recognition rates. This article estimates the determinants of asylum recognition rates. Origin-specific recognition rates vary, as they should, with the extent of political oppression, human rights violations, inter-state armed conflict and events of genocide and politicide in countries of origin. Recognition rates for the full protection status only are lower in times of high unemployment in destination countries. Such rates are also lower if many asylum seekers from a country of origin have already applied for asylum in the past
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