Kara Ross Camarena

Repatriation During Conflict: A Signaling Analysis

There were 30 million refugees in the world at the end of 2019. As the refugee population has gotten larger, repatriation has emerged as the preferred solution to refugee crises. It often appears that repatriation arrangements begin when home countries are still violent, but information asymmetries and leverage in repatriation negotiations explain some qualitative differences in refugee repatriation agreements. As in crisis bargaining, the refugee hosting country needs information and the refugee sending country must signal capacity. A costly signal convinces the refugee hosting country that the sending country can limit violence and that refugees will not flee again. The signaling model brings analytic clarity to agreements that were previously indistinguishable. Situations where the refugee’s country of origin have leverage and can extract refugee return are a target for policy intervention. Altering these asylum country’s material incentives through strategic trade or foreign aid may prevent forced repatriation and regional destabilization.

Working Paper

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The University of Chicago