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Listen to the podcast of the 18 November seminar, part of the Michaelmas term 2015 Public Seminar Series

Professor Carlos Vargas-Silva (COMPAS, University of Oxford) reports on a study exploring differences in economic outcomes between return migrant households and non-migrant households using panel data from Burundi, a country which experienced large-scale conflict-led emigration to Tanzania and massive post-war refugee return. Results indicate that returnee households have significantly lower levels of livestock than non-migrant households. Differences in current economic activities and legal restrictions on economic activities while in displacement are likely to explain a portion of the posterior economic gap between returnee and non-migrant households. Returnees are more likely to engage in agricultural activities for subsistence or as employees. These activities are associated with lower income levels. The evidence also suggests that restrictions on economic activities while abroad resulted in high levels of inactivity while in displacement and potential deterioration of skills. There is no statistical evidence of other possible factors explaining the differences in economic outcomes between returnee and non-migrant households (i.e. greater vulnerability to crime or poorer health status). The gap between returnee and non-migrant household decreases with length of time since return. However, differences in length of time spent abroad have no major impact on economic outcomes.

About the speaker

Carlos Vargas-Silva is an economist and senior researcher at COMPAS and a member of the Migration Observatory team, primarily working on projects in the Labour Markets cluster, with activities involved in the Global Exchange on Migration & Diversity. He is also a member of Kellogg College. 

His research interests include the economic impact of immigration on migrant receiving countries and the link between migration (including forced migration) and economic development in migrant sending countries.

Carlos has been a consultant in migration related projects for several international and policy agencies including the Asian Development Bank, European Commission, the Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank, UK Home Office and the United Nations University. He is an Associate Editor of the journal Migration Studies and the Principal Investigator of the Labour Market Impacts of Forced Migration project.