Is Migration Welfare-Enhancing? The Impacts of Economic and Forced Migration amid Conflict. From a Working Paper with Ana María Ibáñez. Presented at the RIMISP International Conference of Territorial Inequality and Development in Puebla, México ( January 2016.


Findings on the economic literature show migration is an effective strategy to increase welfare and reduce economic risk. However, conflict might limit the welfare-enhancing effects of migration. In war periods, people migrate for preventing victimization, to mitigate the declining economic conditions caused by conflict, or after aggressions by armed groups. In fact, households are willing to trade reductions in income for improved security conditions after migration. The purpose of this paper is to estimate the impact of migration in Colombia for economic and forced migrants. Colombia has one of the largest migration rates in the world and the second highest number of internally displaced persons worldwide. We use longitudinal data for 4,500 households to track rural migrants before and after migration. The results show exposure to direct violence causes migration to urban areas and migration to rural areas of households with more valuable lands, while the control of non-state armed actors prompts households to migrate to rural areas. Based on estimations that control for initial household fixed effects, we find migration to urban areas increases consumption per capita by COP$558.503 and migration to rural areas does not have a statistically significant impact on consumption. The paper will also estimate the heterogeneous impact of migration on consumption for exposure to direct violence and control of non-state armed actors before migrating.

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