A gravity analysis of refugee mobility using mobile phone data

Beine, M. and Bertinelli, L. and Cömertpay, R. and Litina, A. and Maystadt, J.-F. (2021) A gravity analysis of refugee mobility using mobile phone data. Journal of Development Economics, 150: 102618. ISSN 0304-3878

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The objective of this study consists in analyzing the determinants of the internal mobility of refugees in Turkey. We track down this mobility relying on geolocalized mobile phone calls data and bring these measures to a micro-founded gravity model in order to estimate the main drivers of refugee mobility across 26 regions in 2017. Our results show that the movements of refugees are sensitive to income differentials and contribute therefore to a more efficient allocation of labor across space. Comparing these findings with those of individuals with a non-refugee status, we find that refugees are more sensitive to variations of income at origin and to distance, while less responsive to changes in income at destination. These findings are robust to the way mobility is inferred from phone data and to the choice of the geographical unit of investigation. Further, we provide evidence against some alternative explanations of mobility such as the propensity to leave refugee camps, transit through Turkey, social magnet effects and sensitivity to agricultural business cycles.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Development Economics
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Development Economics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Development Economics, 150, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2020.102618
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? forced displacementgravity model of migrationmobile phone datanews mediapoisson pseudo-maximum likelihoodrefugee mobilitymeleagris gallopavodevelopmenteconomics and econometrics ??
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Deposited On:
12 Mar 2021 10:10
Last Modified:
17 Feb 2024 01:03