Betting on Life and Livelihoods: The Role of Employment and Assets in the Decision to Migrate during Armed Conflict

Nathalie Williams, University of Michigan

This study examines how employment and household assets moderate the relationship between armed conflict and migration. Using event history models and data from the Maoist insurrection in Nepal, I empirically test a new multi-dimensional theoretical model of individual migration decisions during conflict. Results indicate that location-specific, non-saleable assets such as working a salaried job and owning farmland decrease the likelihood of migration after violent events. This provides evidence that individuals likely make cost-benefit calculations, weighing the expected danger of staying where they are against the likelihood of losing their employment or assets from migrating. On the other hand, results show that saleable assets, such as livestock and household goods, provide the financial ability and thereby increase the likelihood of migration. Because individuals with financial means are more likely to migrate away during conflict, rural communities are likely experiencing capital flight as a result of the conflict.

  See paper

Presented in Session 135: Determinants of Migration and Immigration