Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor

Moonhawk Kim

Second Advisor

David H. Bearce

Third Advisor

Amy H. Liu

Fourth Advisor

Megan Shannon

Fifth Advisor

Joseph Jupille


Why do states provide protection to asylum seekers? Throughout the literature, regime type and human rights are consistently related: democracies are better at protecting and promoting human rights, both at home and abroad. Yet, little is known about how states engage in human rights protection when the externalities of rights violations abroad, asylum seekers, arrive at a state’s borders seeking its protection and assistance in a formal legal capacity. In spite of the existence of several international instruments pertaining to refugees and political asylum, considerable variation in the acceptance of refugees exists across host states. My research explores the reasons behind this variation through cross-national statistical analysis of asylum recognition across host countries. I posit that regime type plays a key role in explaining both the demand for asylum across regime types, as well as the levels and rates of political asylum granted across states. To evaluate my argument, I consider the impact of regime type on both the demand for protection, as well as levels and rates of political asylum across states. I use data covering 197 countries for the period 2000-2013. This quantitative analysis is followed by two illustrative case studies of Germany and Jordan, which elaborate the mechanisms of asylum recognition in this dissertation. My findings reveal a robust relationship between regime type and the allocation and amount of protection granted to asylum seekers.