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Williams, Nathalie, and Meeta Sainju Pradhan. 2009. "Political Conflict and Migration: How has Violence and Political Instability Affected Migration Patterns in Nepal?" PSC Research Report No. 09-677. May 2009.
While violent political conflicts rage around the world, social science researchers are attempting to better understand why they happen, and their consequences on civilians, their communities, and the countries in which they live. Toward these ends, this paper focuses on one important behavioral response to conflict—migration. Compared to migration during times of relative peace, migration streams during conflict are large, sudden, and migrants are arguably less prepared for life at their destinations. In this study, we use a theoretical framework to understand individual-level out-migration from conflict affected areas. Departing from much of the literature that treats conflict as a single and homogenous event, we evaluate how specific violent and political events, such as major gun battles, bomb blasts, political instability, ceasefires, and strikes and protests have different effects on migration and non-migration. Furthermore, we address how men and women may experience these same events differently and the resulting gender differences in migration responses. This approach permits a better understand of individual variability in migration and non-migration patterns as a whole. We use the recent Maoist insurrection in Nepal as a case study to empirically investigate this theoretical framework. A unique combination of data, including records of violent events, political events, and demographic data from a prospective panel survey of individuals, make direct empirical documentation of these relationships possible.
Country of focus: Nepal.