Of the consequences of war, the movement of large numbers of displaced peoples across international borders is among the most significant. I examine the determinants of international refugee flows in Africa during the period from 1992 to 2001. I begin with a gravity model of refugee flows, which posits that levels of such flows will vary as a function of the population of the two states in question and the distance between the two. To this, I add consideration of two key factors theorized to generate refugee populations: the presence of armed conflict, and the regime type of both the source and target nations. Most important, distance between the source and the target countries is the single most important determinant of dyadic refugee flows; in addition to its direct effect, distance also mediates the effects of conflict and regime type on volumes of refugees. My findings confirm the strong influence of distance on the levels of refugee flows. Although I find clear effects for the presence of conflict, with war in the source country substantially increasing refugee flows and war in the host country decreasing them, I also find strong evidence that this effect is mediated by distance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics
- Political Science and International Relations