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Winners and Losers Among a Refugee-Hosting Population

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Author Info

  • Jean-François Maystadt

    ()
    (Université catholique de Louvain)

  • Philip Verwimp

    ()
    (Fund for Scientific Research  Flanders, University of Antwerp)

Abstract

Every year, thousands of refugees are forced to leave their countries of origin and are hosted by their neighboring countries. However, very little is known about the impact of these refugees on the local economy and its inhabitants. Based on a hypothesis formulated during a two-month iterative field research, a theoretical framework is used to understand how the refugee inflow would affect the good and labour markets of the local economy. We then test the theoretical predictions regarding the potential winners and losers among the refugee-hosting population, using household panel data collected in the region of Kagera in Tanzania. Our identification strategy exploits both time and spatial variations in the way households traced between 1991 and 2004 have been affected by the refugee inflows originating from Burundi (1993) and Rwanda (1994). Our results show that local hosts do not necessarily suffer from the refugee presence. Net economic benefits could even emerge provided a sufficient mass of refugees is gathered. Furthermore, the economic benefits appear to be unevenly distributed among the refugeehosting population. Agricultural workers are likely to suffer the most from an increase in competition on the labor markets and the surging prices of several goods. On the contrary, non-agricultural workers and self-employed farmers are in a better position to benefit from such a refugee inflow. We also conjecture that the welfare deterioration experienced by those involved into business could be explained a selection effect resulting from the reported entry of larger-scale entrepreneurs from other regions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Households in Conflict Network in its series HiCN Working Papers with number 60.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: May 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:60

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Web page: http://www.hicn.org

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Keywords: Refugees; Tanzania; Migration;

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References

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  1. J. Edward Taylor & Scott Rozelle & Alan deBrauw, 1999. "Migration, Remittances, and Agricultural Productivity in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 287-291, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Richard Akresh & Leonardo Lucchetti & Harsha Thirumurthy, 2010. "Wars and Child Health: Evidence from the Eritrean-Ethiopian Conflict," HiCN Working Papers, Households in Conflict Network 89, Households in Conflict Network.
  2. Baez, Javier E., 2011. "Civil wars beyond their borders: The human capital and health consequences of hosting refugees," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 391-408, November.
  3. Maystadt, Jean-Francois, 2012. "Poverty Reduction in a Refugee-Hosting Economy. A Natural Experiment," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, International Association of Agricultural Economists 126259, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  4. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh & Isabel Ruiz & Carlos Vargas-Silva & Roger Zetter, 2012. "Assessing the Impacts and Costs of Forced Displacement : Volume 1. A Mixed Methods Approach," World Bank Other Operational Studies 16096, The World Bank.

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