Forced Migration, Female Labor Force Participation, and Intra-household Bargaining: Does Conflict EmpowerWomen?
Civilian displacement is a common phenomenon in developing countries confrontedwith internal conflict. While displacement directly affects forced migrants, it also contributes to deteriorating labor conditions of vulnerable groups in receiving communities. For the displaced population, the income losses are substantial, and asthey migrate to cities, they usually end up joining the informal labor force. Qualitative evidence reveals that displaced women are better suited to compete in urban labor markets, as their labor experience is more relevant with respect to certain urban low-skilled occupations. Our study uses this exogenous change in female labor force participation to test how it affects female bargaining power within the household. Our results show that female displaced women work longer hours, earn similar wages and contribute in larger proportions to household earnings relative to rural women whoremain in rural areas. However, as measured by several indicators, their greater contribution to households´ earnings does not strengthen their bargaining power. Most notably, domestic violence have increased among displaced women. The anger and frustration of displaced women also increases the level of violence directed at children. Because the children of displaced families have been the direct victims of conflict and domestic violence, the intra-generational transmission of violence is highly likely.
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