Local Perceptions of Economic Security in Refugee Hosting Areas

Authors: Andreas Foroe Tollefsen*, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Halvard Buhaug, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)
Topics: Economic Geography, Political Geography, Migration
Keywords: Refugees, IDPs, Welfare, Conflict
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 6:20 PM
Room: Napoleon B3, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Lately, the international community has witnessed unprecedented levels of forced migration. In 2015 alone, the latest year with official statistics, 65.3 million people were categorized as forcibly displaced worldwide – the highest figure since UNHCR started counting. Forced migration is traumatic for those displaced but also put considerable strains on receiving communities, especially when other political, social, economic, and security challenges are rife. To date, there is a dearth of generalizable scientific research on how refugee inflows affect host populations’ perception of well-being. While there is overwhelming evidence that local refugee settlements engender new opportunities for economic activity and income, recent research highlight a discrepancy between the primarily negative perceptions of welfare and equality and the objective improvements in living conditions following refugee influx. This pattern is consistent with views conveyed elsewhere that refugees are believed to be stealing what rightfully belongs to the local population, such as resources, jobs, and aid, but not necessarily reflect the actual changes to welfare. To provide improved insight into the economics of refugee-host relations, this paper employs individual- and household-level surveys of more than 200,000 African respondents in combination with new georeferenced data on refugee and IDP settlements. Using quasi-experimental survey design and spatial data, we systematically explore perceived and objective welfare among respondents living in proximity to refugees and compare these with similar respondents residing in areas unexposed to refugees. Results are TBA.

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