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Movers or Stayers? Understanding the Drivers of IDP Camp Decongestion during Post-Conflict Recovery in Uganda


  • Carlos Bozzoli
  • Tilman Brück
  • Tony Muhumuza


The paper explores factors that influence the household decision to leave internal displacement camps in the immediate aftermath of violent conflict. Our analysis is based on two sources of information: household survey data collected in northern Uganda for households that were displaced by the civil conflict, and geo-referenced data on armed conflict events, with which we construct our developed index of recent conflict exposure. We compare households that moved out of camps with those that remained in the camps after the region was declared safe from rebel incursions. The study covers the first few months of the end of conflict, when return was regarded as largely voluntary. We find that a history of conflict both at the place of residence, and at the expected place of return reduces the likelihood of return. Access to camp services overall encourages households to stay in camps, although the effect varies with the proportion of young household members. Results also show that a history of economic skills poses varying effects on return decisions. While experience in cultivation is associated with a high likelihood of moving out of the camp, households with members with recent experience in trading are less inclined to return. From a policy perspective, the results point to the need for recovery initiatives to ensure access to adequate infrastructures in return locations in order to fast-track reintegration.

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  • Carlos Bozzoli & Tilman Brück & Tony Muhumuza, 2012. "Movers or Stayers? Understanding the Drivers of IDP Camp Decongestion during Post-Conflict Recovery in Uganda," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1197, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1197

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bozzoli, Carlos & Brück, Tilman & Muhumuza, Tony, 2011. "Does war influence individual expectations?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 113(3), pages 288-291.
    2. Shemyakina, Olga, 2011. "The effect of armed conflict on accumulation of schooling: Results from Tajikistan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 186-200, July.
    3. Ibáñez, Ana Mari­a & Vélez, Carlos Eduardo, 2008. "Civil Conflict and Forced Migration: The Micro Determinants and Welfare Losses of Displacement in Colombia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 659-676, April.
    4. Patricia Justino & Philip Verwimp, 2013. "Poverty Dynamics, Violent Conflict, and Convergence in R wanda," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59(1), pages 66-90, March.
    5. Maarten Voors & Eleonora Nillesen & Philip Verwimp & Erwin Bulte & Robert Lensink & Daan van Soest, 2010. "Does Conflict affect Preferences? Results from Field Experiments in Burundi," HiCN Working Papers 71, Households in Conflict Network.
    6. Dean Yang, 2006. "Why Do Migrants Return to Poor Countries? Evidence from Philippine Migrants' Responses to Exchange Rate Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 715-735, November.
    7. Adrian J. Bailey & Thomas J. Cooke, 1998. "Family Migration and Employment: The Importance of Migration History and Gender," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 21(2), pages 99-118, August.
    8. Philip Verwimp & Jan Van Bavel, 2004. "Child Survival and the Fertility of Refugees in Rwanda after the Genocide," PRUS Working Papers 26, Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex.
    9. Tom Bundervoet & Philip Verwimp, 2005. "Civil War and Economic Sanctions: Analysis of Anthropometric Outcomes in Burundi," HiCN Working Papers 11, Households in Conflict Network.
    10. Christopher Blattman & Jeannie Annan, 2010. "The Consequences of Child Soldiering," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 882-898, November.
    11. Mathias Czaika & Krisztina Kis-Katos, 2009. "Civil Conflict and Displacement: Village-Level Determinants of Forced Migration in Aceh," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 46(3), pages 399-418, May.
    12. Patricia Justino, 2009. "The Impact of Armed Civil Conflict on Household Welfare and Policy Responses," Research Working Papers 12, MICROCON - A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict.
    13. Nathan Fiala, 2012. "The Economic Consequences of Forced Displacement," HiCN Working Papers 137, Households in Conflict Network.
    14. María A. González & Rigoberto A. Lopez, 2007. "Political Violence and Farm Household Efficiency in Colombia," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55, pages 367-392.
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    16. Carlos Bozzoli & Tilman Brück, 2010. "Child Morbidity and Camp Decongestion in Post-war Uganda," Research Working Papers 24, MICROCON - A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict.
    17. Verwimp, Philip, 2005. "An economic profile of peasant perpetrators of genocide: Micro-level evidence from Rwanda," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 297-323, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tilman Brück & Patricia Justino & Philip Verwimp & Alexandra Avdeenko & Andrew Tedesco, 2016. "Measuring Violent Conflict in Micro-level Surveys: Current Practices and Methodological Challenges," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 31(1), pages 29-58.
    2. Tilman Brück & Patricia Justino & Philip Verwimp & Andrew Tedesco & Alexandra Avdeenko, 2013. "Measuring Conflict Exposure in Micro-Level Surveys," HiCN Working Papers 153, Households in Conflict Network.
    3. Adelman, Sarah & Peterman, Amber, 2014. "Resettlement and Gender Dimensions of Land Rights in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 583-596.

    More about this item


    Conflict; IDP; Northern Uganda; returnees;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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