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Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire? Migration from Fragile States to Fragile States


  • Anke Hoeffler

    (University of Oxford)


Fragile states contributed 18 million migrants and 8 million refugees in 2000. More than 20% of these migrants and more than half of the refugees settle in other fragile states. Thus, migration is likely to be both a consequence and a possible cause of conflict and fragility. This paper asks why people from fragile states would want to move to another fragile state. Is it simply a question of jumping out of the frying pan into the fire – that migrants from fragile states have no other options than to settle in another fragile state? To investigate this question I analyse a new set of global data on the sources and destinations of migrants. This analysis generates genuinely new research for INCAF, and reveals that economic factors, such as the pull of higher incomes in destination countries, are important. The paper concludes by discussing how migration from fragile states in search of higher incomes and greater wellbeing is an important development strategy that should be supported. The research suggests that a new concept of development may be needed which looks beyond national borders to the countries where the migrants end up. This will require policies to ensure public acceptability in the host countries, however, such as bilateral agreements, temporary status for immigrants and restricting immigration to specific jobs or perhaps regions.

Suggested Citation

  • Anke Hoeffler, 2013. "Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire? Migration from Fragile States to Fragile States," OECD Development Co-operation Working Papers 9, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:dcdaaa:9-en

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