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2020 Research Conference on Forced Displacement

January 16-18, 2020

UN City, Copenhagen


  • Globally, there are an estimated 70.8 million people who have fled their homes either as refugees (25.9 million), internally displaced persons (41.3 million), or asylum seekers as a result of conflict and persecution. The least developed countries host one-third of the global refugee population, while 16 percent of the total refugees live in countries in developed regions. (UNHCR Global Trends, 2018)

    Given the scale and the complexity of the crises, the World Bank Group (WBG) and UNHCR have significantly stepped up their joint initiatives on forced displacement, through analytical work; collaboration with governments on microdata collection; and joint missions to inform WBG programming on refugee situations, particularly through IDA18 and the Global Concessional Financing Facility. To further synergize efforts, both organizations, with support from the Danish government, inaugurated the Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement (JDC) in Copenhagen, Denmark, on October 10, 2019.

    Part of the JDC mandate is to stimulate research and data around forcibly displaced and enhance the ability of stakeholders to make timely and evidence-based policy decisions. To support its efforts, the JDC is partnering with the Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) and Middle East Initiative (MEI) at Harvard University, Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University and World Bank’s Development Economics Research Group, to host a Research Conference on Forced Displacement on January 16-18, 2020 at the UN City in Copenhagen, Denmark.

    The conference will focus attention on emerging scholarship and establish links between researchers and data providers to promote coordinated and innovative efforts on this issue. It will present perspectives from practitioners, beneficiaries, and academics on multiple topics including effects on forcibly displaced and host communities; impact on children; and studies based on evidence from mobile data. Select papers from the conference will be featured in the special issue on Forced Displacement of the Journal of Development Economics.



    Book Launch and Lunch (Room 4.8.26)

    Introduction and moderation by Carolina Sanchez, Senior Director of the Poverty and Equity Global Practice, World Bank

    12:45 Light lunch served

    13:00 Book Launch: Data Collection in Fragile States Innovations from Africa and Beyond

    Johannes G. Hoogeveen and Utz Pape

    13:30 Book Launch: Using Micro-Data to Inform Durable Solutions for IDPs
    Utz Pape

    Setting the Stage (Lounge 1)

    14:30 World Bank-UNHCR Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement; Vision and Work Program

    Björn Gillsäter, Head, Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement
    Volker Schimmel, Deputy Head, Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement

    14:45  Forced Displacement, a World Bank Perspective
    Comments by Xavier Devictor, Manager, Fragility, Conflict and Violence, World Bank 

    15:00 Introducing the Developing World Refugee and Asylum Policy Dataset

    Christopher W. Blair, Guy Grossman, and Jeremy Weinstein.
    With comments by Grainne O’Hara, Director of the Division of International Protection, UNHCR

    15:30 A review of literature as presented in: The Impact of Forced Displacement on Host Communities: A Review of the Empirical Literature in Economics, Paolo Verme and Kristen Schuettler

    Introduction by Jedediah Fix, DRS, UNHCR 

    Conversation with a Thought Leader (Lounge 1)

    16:00  Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner, UNHCR 

    Introduction and interview by Caroline Sergeant, Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement

    Poster Session (Lounge 1)

    16:45 Poster Session with aspiring researchers in the field of forced displacement

    Introduction by Ewen Macleod, Director, DRS, UNHCR

    The Impacts of Refugee Repatriation on Receiving Communities, Carlos Vargas-Silva and Isabel Ruiz
    • Refugee Camps and Deforestation in Sub-Saharan Africa, Colette Salemi
    Psychosocial Dimensions of Displacement: Prevalence of Mental Health Outcomes and Related Stressors Among IDPs in Iraq, Nadia Siddiqui, Joshua Stacey and Roger Guiu
    Psychological Trauma, Socioemotional Skills, and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Internally Displaced Persons in Colombia, Andrés Moya, Suzanne Duryea and Carolina González-Velosa
    Female Employment and Intimate Partner Violence: Evidence from Syrian Refugee Inflows to Turkey, Bilge Erten and Pinar Keskin
    A Quasi-experimental Analysis of the Effect of Armed Conflict on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): Evidence from the Boko Haram (BH) Insurgency in Nigeria, Uche Eseosa Ekhator-Mobayode, Lucia C. Hanmer, Eliana Carolina Rubiano Matulevich and Diana Jimena Arango
    The Impact of Remittances on the Development of Ethiopia, Dawit Haileyesus Denegetu
    Gender-based Situational Analysis of Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh: An Exploratory Study in Kutupalong Camp and New Arrivals, Tarak Aziz
    Irregular Migration and the Unintended Consequences of Search and Rescue Operations in the Central Mediterranean Sea, Claudio Deiana, Vikram Maheshri, Giovanni Mastrobuoni


    Policy Session (Auditorium 3)

    9:00 Welcome and introduction by Björn Gillsäter, Head, Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement

    9:05 Setting the Stage: A Host Country Perspective

    Ambassador Mohamed Abdi Affey, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, UNHCR

    9:15 Why We Need Better Data and Research on Forced Displacement

    Ola Rosling, Founder of the fact tank Gapminder and co-author of the book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World - and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, 2018

    09:40 Practitioners’ Perspectives

    Moderated by Caroline Sergeant, Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement

    Carolina Sanchez-Paramo, Senior Director of the Poverty and Equity Global Practice, World Bank
    Thomas Thomsen, Chief Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark
    Sheree Bennett, Research and Evidence, Advisor, International Rescue CommitteeAnna Schmidt, Policy Advisor, Migration & Forced Displacement, European Commission
    Xavier Devictor, Manager of Fragility, Conflict and Violence, World Bank

    10:30 Coffee Break (Lounge 1)

    Academic Session (Auditorium 3)

    11:00 Movement (Chair: Philip Verwimp)

    When Do Refugees Return Home? Evidence from Syrian Displacement in Mashreq, Lori Beaman, Harun
     Onder, and Stefanie Onder
    More is Better: Evaluating the Impact of a Variation in Cash Assistance on the Reintegration Outcomes of Returning Afghan Refugees, Hisham Esper, Nandini Krishnan, and Christina Wieser
    • The Globalization of Refugee Flows, Xavier Devictor, Quy-Toan Do, and Andrei Levchenko

    13:15 Lunch (Lounge 1)

    13:30 Lunch Session: Microdata Libraries on Forcibly Displaced

    Kimberly Roberson, Chief of Section, UNHCR
    Olivier Dupriez, Lead Statistician, DEC, World Bank
    Moderated by Jeffery Tanner, Senior Economist, Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement

    14:15 Effects on Forcibly Displaced (Chair: Simone Bertoli)

    Allowing Forced Migrants to Work: Impacts of Work Permits on Labor Markets and Crime, Dany Bahar, Ana Marıa Ibanez, and Sandra V. Rozo
    Creating Coexistence: Intergroup Contact and Soccer in Post-ISIS Iraq, Salma Mousa
    Measuring the Impact of Multipurpose Cash Assistance in Humanitarian Settings: The Case of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon, Jad Chaaban, Nisreen Salti, Hala Ghattas, Wael Moussa, Alexandra Irani, Zeina Jamaluddine, Rima Al Mokdad

    16:30 Flash Session for Graduate Students (Chair: Arthur Alik Lagrange, Joint Data Center)

    Refugee Inflow, Surplus Farm Labor, and Crop Marketization in Rural Africa, Shunsuke Tsuda
    The Syrian Refugee Life Study (S-RLS) Samuel Leone, Edward Miguel, Sandra V. Rozo, and Emma Smith
    Refugees and Native Flight: Evidence from Lebanon, Layane Alhorr
    The Economic and Social Integration of Refugees: Evidence from Italy, Francesca Miserocchi, Awa Ambra Seck

    18:00 Wrap-up

    Quy-Toan Do, Senior Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

    Canal Cruise and Reception

    18:30 Departure on boat from Århusgadekvarteret, Murmanskgade (map will be provided)

    19:00 Reception at the Black Diamond- Royal Library


    Academic Session (Auditorium 3)

    8:15 Effects on Hosts (Chair: Mushfiq Mobarak)

    Blessing or Burden? The Impact of Refugees on Businesses and the Informal Economy, Sandra Rozo, Onur Altindag and Ozan Bakis
    The Effect of Refugees on Native Adolescents' Test Scores: Quasi-experimental Evidence from PISA, Semih Tumen
    Mass Refugee Inflow and Long-run Prosperity: Lessons from the Greek Population Resettlement, Elie Murard and Seyhun Orcan Sakalli

    10:30 Coffee Break (Lounge 1)

    Academic Session (continued )

    10:45 Parallel Sessions

    I: Effects on Children and Women; Chair: Anna Schrimpf (Auditorium 3)

    Mitigating the Social Exclusion of Refugee Children: An Educational Intervention on Perspective Taking, Sule Alan, Ceren Baysan, Mert Gumren, and Elif Kubilay.
    Using Children’s Drawings to Measure Psychological Impacts of Exposure to Violence: The Case of Rohingya and Syrian Refugees, Sarah Baird, Jennifer Muz, Rafael Panlilo, Bruce Wydick.
    Marriage Outcomes of Displaced Women, Prashant Bharadwaj, Frances Lu, and Sameem Siddiqui

    II: Measurement; Chair: Paolo Verme (Lounge 1)

    Refugee Mobility: Evidence from Phone Data in Turkey, Michel Beine, Luisito Bertinell, Rana Comertpay, Anastasia Litina, Jean-Francois Maystad, and Benteng Zou
    Segregation of Syrian Refugees in Turkey: Evidence from Mobile Phone Data, Simone Bertoli, Caglar Ozden, and Michael Packard
    Targeting Humanitarian Aid Using Administrative Data: Model Design and Validation, Onur Altindag, Stephen D. O’Connell, Aytug Sasmaz, Zeynep Balcioglu, Matilda Jerneck, Aimee Kunze Foong, and Paola Cadoni

    13:00 Lunch (Lounge 1)

    Academic Session (Auditorium 3)

    14:00 Brown/Harvard Special Session: Experience from History and High-Income Areas (Chair: Reema Hanna)

    Previous Exposure to Immigration and Attitudes toward Refugees, Rania Gihleb, Osea Giuntella and Luca Stella
    Migrant Initial Experiences and Posterior Job Search Behavior: Evidence from the UK’s Asylum System, Zovanga L. Kone, Isabel Ruiz and Carlos Vargas-Silva
    Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime, Karsten Müller and Carlo Schwarz

    17:00 Wrap up, Take-aways and Next Steps

    Björn Gillsäter, Head, Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement
    Andrew Foster, Editor in Chief, Journal of Development Economics

  • Read the Conference  Report Here:

    Watch the Sessions

    JANUARY 16, 2020

    Pre-Conference Session 

    Book Launch

    Setting the Stage and Conversation with a Thought Leader 


    DAY 1, JANUARY 17, 2020 

    Policy Session 

    Academic Sessions (Auditorium 3)

    Microdata Libraries on Forcibly Displaced


    DAY 2, JANUARY 18, 2020

    Academic Sessions and Next Steps (Auditorium 3)

    Academic Session (Lounge 1)