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The Dynamics of Refugee Return: Syrian Refugees and Their Migration Intentions
Despite the importance of understanding how refugee crises end, we know little about when and why refugees, who were forced to emigrate, return home. We study the drivers of refugees’ decision-making using original observational and experimental survey data from a representative sample of approximately 3,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon. We find that conditions in a refugee’s home country are much more important than the situation in the host country in shaping return intentions. Specifically, our findings suggest that refugees’ decisions are influenced primarily by safety and security in their place of origin, their economic prospects, the availability of public services, and their personal networks. Confidence in information is also important: we find that several drivers of return---safety, services, and networks---only impact intentions among people who have high confidence in their information. By contrast, the conditions in hosting countries–so-called “push'” factors–play a negligible role in the process of refugee return. Even in the face of outright hostility and poor living conditions, refugees are unlikely to return unless the situation at home improves significantly.

Oct 28, 2020 11:30 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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