Economic Outcomes

What explains variation in economic outcomes for refugees and their impact on host states? Building on an initial pilot study carried out in Uganda, we are building an original panel data set, based on multi-country and time series data collection.

The data collection initially focuses on Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia. These countries have been chosen on the basis that although in the same region and with many of the same refugee populations, they have contrasting policies on socio-economic inclusion.

The data collection covers 1) urban and rural areas, 2) refugees and hosts, and includes 3) multiple periods of data collection. The resulting dataset will be the first panel dataset of its kind, specifically focused on the economic lives of refugees.

In total the dataset will involve around 15,000 respondents in the initial baseline study, with at least one additional round of follow-up data collection with the same respondents. The survey covers a series of modules on basic individual and household demographics; networks; living standards; household history and economic shocks; the regulatory environment and access to aid and services; subjective wellbeing, attitudes and aspirations; and mental and physical health. Our sampling methods involve random sampling in both rural and urban areas, enabling us to use the data to explore a variety of questions using descriptive statistics, simple correlations, and multivariate regression analysis.

In each country, our quantitative data collection is complemented by qualitative research, enabling us to get deeper insights into the economic lives of refugees and host communities, explore causal relationships in more depth, and develop relationships of trust with communities. We use participatory methods, training refugees and host community members as peer researchers and enumerators. In addition to producing academic publications, we will produce a series of accessible policy briefs, combining quantitative data with qualitative insights and human stories.

The panel data collection runs between 2017 and 2020, and is funded by both the IKEA Foundation and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Our goal is to create the first bespoke panel dataset on refugee economies to inform academic research, policy, and practice, and to ultimately expand the dataset to other regions, either through our own work or collaboration with partners.