Return Migration during Armed Conflict

Nathalie Williams, University of Washington

This article investigates return migration during armed conflict. Contrary to popular assumption that people do not return migrate to a conflict zone, we use detailed survey data from the Chitwan Valley of Nepal to document extensive return migration throughout the conflict period. We then investigate how specific conflict events as well as demographic and social characteristics of respondents and their households influence return migration. Findings suggest that conflict events depress return migration and that there are learning processes, whereby patterns of behavior change from earlier to later instances of a specific kind of event. Results also indicate that demographic and social characteristics influence return migration during armed conflict in the same way that they do during periods of relative peace. This suggests that motivations for migration and return are more complex than a simple escape from violence.

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 Presented in Session P6. Migration and Urbanization/Population, Development, and the Environment