Refugee Proximity and Support for Citizenship Exclusion in Africa
60 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2014 Last revised: 5 Feb 2018
Date Written: February 4, 2018
As forced migration reaches unprecedented levels, understanding how it affects local host communities is critical. This article examines how the presence of refugees can change local citizens’ opposition to citizenship inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa, an understudied region where sizable refugee populations are hosted. Using new data on the geographic locations of refugee communities, and 35,000 geo-referenced Afrobarometer respondents across 22 countries, I find that citizens who live near refugees in their country are substantially more likely to support restrictions on citizenship access – particularly with respect to granting birthright citizenship – compared to fellow citizens farther away. This effect is stronger for newer refugee sites. Placebo tests support the claim that there is no selection on unobserved confounders. Furthermore, citizens near refugees report lower confidence in the national economy and less interpersonal trust, which suggests that the threats they perceive from refugee proximity are both economic and social.
Keywords: citizenship, refugees, migration, Africa, Afrobarometer, GIS
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