The Consequences of Forced Displacement in Northern Uganda


Year: 2009 HiCN Working Paper No. 065

Over 21 million people are currently forced to live in internally displaced person camps around the world, the majority already from low income areas. The effect of this movement has meant a severe impact on the populations, but due to estimation and data difficulties, little is known about the impact of this movement on livelihoods and health. A data set on households and communities in a conflict zone in northern Uganda offers the opportunity to exploit a possible exogenous variation in movement and a discontinuity design in order to control for endogenous factors and thus obtain potentially unbiased estimates of the cost of movement on the people. I find that being forced to move is associated with an increase in the value of assets for households that originally had little or no assets and a decrease in the value of assets of all other households between 17% and 26%. Estimation on principal component analysis is likewise significant and suggests an even greater association. I also find that, for all income groups, displacement is associated with a decrease in the likelihood of a household consuming meat, an indicator of consumption quality and general health, of up to 71%. These two indicators suggest a possible serious long-run decrease in the economic growth potential of households as the people move home.

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