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Displacement Due to Violence in Colombia: A Household-Level Analysis

  • Economics
  • Mathematics


Civil wars and ethnic conflicts have resulted in an estimated number of approximately 35 million refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide. Understanding the determinants of forced migration is an important prerequisite for the definition of appropriate policies of prevention, assistance, and relocation. We develop a conceptual framework for the empirical analysis of displacement decisions at the household level. While similarities to conventional migration theories exist, there are also important differences implied by the presence of violent conflict. For example, risk aversion and lack of information may hamper conventional migration but enhance displacement. Factors such as landholdings and social capital at the place of origin may not only reduce displacement in the conventional sense of raising opportunity costs but may also spur displacement indirectly by increasing the household’s likelihood of becoming the victim of direct threats. For the case of Colombia, we conduct an econometric analysis of the determinants of displacement and of direct threats. We conclude with policy recommendations and directions for further research.

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