Economic impacts of displacement

This research area aims to measure the effects of internal displacement on the economic potential of IDPs, host communities and societies as a whole, bridging the knowledge gap through innovative research, partnerships with experts and consultations with policy stakeholders concerned with economic development.

Research agenda

Anecdotal evidence has repeatedly highlighted the links between displacement and low levels of socioeconomic development, and the need for governments to invest in preventive solutions if they want to ensure inclusive and sustainable development. More systematic, quantitative evidence is needed to demonstrate the short and longer-term economic impacts of internal displacement and generate the political will to address the phenomenon.

This thematic series aims to measure the effects of internal displacement on the economic potential of IDPs, host communities and societies as a whole, bridging the knowledge gap through innovative research, partnerships with experts and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines and consultations with policy stakeholders concerned with economic development.

Download the research agenda (PDF, 0.4MB) in French or Spanish. Click on read more for the English version.

Latest publication

Internal displacement can affect the lives of people forced to leave their home because of conflict, violence, climate change or disasters, in many ways. Their housing, access to infrastructure and education, health, social life, security and environment change and often degrade. Displaced people often lose their livelihoods, as a result of being pushed away from their work place or source of income. Some experience months or years without the means to make a decent living.

Loss of livelihood can have repercussions on the ability of displaced people to meet their needs and disrupt access to services such as healthcare and education. It can also damage their social life and impact their mental health and wellbeing. IDMC studies have estimated internal displacement triggered by specific events in NepalMexico and Cuba cost the three countries hundreds of millions of dollars. In an analysis of the economic impacts of internal displacement in eight countries, loss of livelihood was found to be the main financial burden, close to health and housing costs and far ahead of security and education costs.

These findings are concerning, because they are underestimates. They consider only the most direct consequences of internal displacement on the income of displaced people when they are unable to continue their previous activity. They do not take into account impacts on the host community or on the broader production system of the affected area. This paper, part of IDMC's thematic series "The ripple effect: economic impacts of internal displacement", presents a wider framework to evaluate the impacts of internal displacement on income in the host economy.

Research lead

Christelle Cazabat

We are always looking to strengthen and expand our existing partnerships. If you are interested in working with us on the economic impacts of displacement, please contact christelle.cazabat@idmc.ch.

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