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The Journey Home: Flight Related Factors on Refugee Decisions to Return

Chu, TS; Ghosn, F; Simon, M; Braithwaite, A; Frith, M; (2019) The Journey Home: Flight Related Factors on Refugee Decisions to Return. In: Proceedings of the Migration, Refugees, and the Stateless 2019. The Ford Motor Company Center for Global Citizenship at the Kellogg School of Management: Evanston, IL. Green open access

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Abstract

Normative practice for forced displacement is to voluntarily repatriate refugees once conditions are stable in the country of origin, which typically translates to the end of violence. However, Syrian refugees have been returning over the past few years even though there is yet to be a definitive end to the Syrian civil war. Therefore, this paper asks how refugees form decisions on when and whether they should return despite ongoing violence and instability in their country of origin? For now, we focus upon one part of the picture: how prior exposure to violence in the country of origin affects their subsequent decision to return home from their host country. To explore this relationship, we designed an original survey, implemented among Syrian refugees hosted in Lebanon (N=2,000), to causally identify the effects of prior conflict exposure on refugees’ decisions to return. We find that Syrian refugees are more willing to leave Lebanon and return home when they have prior experience of violence in Syria. We explain this initially counterintuitive finding as reflecting that they better understand their tolerance to violence, because they are “experts” and are more capable of assessing risk. In contrast, refugees who were not directly exposed to violence before fleeing their homes are more unsure of the threats associated to returning and are unwilling, therefore, to accept the risk of doing so.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: The Journey Home: Flight Related Factors on Refugee Decisions to Return
Event: Migration, Refugees and the Stateless
Location: Evanston, IL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/news-events/c...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10086158
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