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Refugees and their preferences for relocation

Simon, M; Frith, M; Braithwaite, A; Ghosn, F; (2021) Refugees and their preferences for relocation. In: Proceedings of the European Political Science Association Conference 2021. European Political Science Association (EPSA): Virtual conference. Green open access

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Abstract

Despite popular portrayals, most refugees are highly immobile once they have left their countries of origin. They are subject to the decisions of various governance actors, which affects their individual agency, sometimes trapping them in a state of involuntary immobility in host countries. This has a bearing on their preferences for relocation to a third country. We argue refugees’ preferences for relocation are a function of their perception of the effectiveness of governance actors in managing refugee situations. UN agencies often take on traditional public responsibilities for refugee populations, such as providing healthcare and education. Host governments’ responsibilities, in contrast, are commonly limited to respecting non-refoulement and providing security. Based on these competencies, we can distinguish between refugee perceptions of institutions as bestowing purely or impurely ‘agency-enhancing’ benefits. We expect these different perceptions affect refugees’ well-being in the host state, their perceived ability and aspiration to move onward, and their preferences regarding options outside legal frameworks. We test our expectations with an original survey among Syrian refugees hosted in Lebanon. We find purely agency-enhancing benefits are associated with a lower aspiration, but a higher perceived ability for onward movement. By contrast, impurely agency-enhancing benefits are associated with higher aspiration and a lower perceived ability for onward movement. Using a conjoint experiment, we also find that more positive perceptions of institutions are associated with a lower willingness to consider onward movement outside legal frameworks.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Refugees and their preferences for relocation
Event: European Political Science Association Conference 2021
Location: Virtual conference
Dates: 24 June 2021 - 25 June 2021
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://epsanet.org/
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/10130256
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