Forced Up or Down? The Impact of Forced Migration on Social Status

Carlos Vargas-Silva , Centre on Migration, Policy, & Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford

Using a unique dataset on Burundian refugee returnees, this paper inquires on returnees’ perceptions of the overall impact of forced migration (including displacement and return) on community and household-level social status. Particular attention is placed on the role of gender and length of migration as factors that influence the impact of migration on social status. We exploit community level differences in exposure to violence during the last period of major conflict in Burundi to address potential issues of endogeneity. After controlling for other relevant factors, gender does not seem to play a major role concerning the impact of forced migration on alienation from the community or the position of the returnee in the household. On the other hand, women are less likely to perceive that migration has improved their social status in Burundi, increase their ability to contribute to the community, or given them more decision making power within the household. Results also suggest that those returnees who spent longer periods of time abroad have a greater tendency to perceive the forced migration process as having a positive impact on their social status in Burundi.

About the speaker

Date: 20 March 2013

Time: 12:15 - 13:15