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CEP discussion paper
Conflict-Induced Displacement and Labour Market Outcomes: Evidence from Post-War Bosnia and Herzegovina
Florence Kondylis November 2007
Paper No' CEPDP0777:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: C33; C81; J60; O15; R23

Tags: civil conflict; labour market; migration; panel data

This study uses a longitudinal data source to study the effects of conflict-induced displacement on labour market outcomes for Bosnians in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. To account for endogeneity in the displacement status, I exploit the fact that the level of violence in the pre-war residence likely affected the displacement decision for Bosnians and yet is not associated to economic performance. I find evidence of positive selection into displacement, i.e. more 'able' individuals in terms of labour market outcomes are more likely to be displaced, and that displaced Bosnians men and women are less likely to be in work relative to stayers. Interestingly, whereas this translates into higher unemployment for men, it decreases women's participation with no effect on unemployment once selection is accounted for. The informality of the labour market in BiH and the destruction of networks are not only the most plausible candidates to explain the high cost of displacement in terms of labour market outcomes, but they also help rationalise the lack of an effect on participation for displaced men. However, differences in selection suggest that the experience of war was highly contrasted along gender lines and that sociological and cultural factors may also play a significant role.