Forced Migration and Violent Crime: Evidence from the Venezuelan Exodus to Brazil

44 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2023

Date Written: October 27, 2023


Does increased exposure to forced migration affect violent crime rates in developing host countries? To answer this question, we exploit the unprecedented inflow of Venezuelans to Brazil. Contrary to fears propagated by the anti-immigration rhetoric, our two-stage least squares estimates reveal that the sudden influx of refugees did not affect violent crime in which natives were victimized. In fact, our results suggest that forced migration only increased violent crime involving Venezuelan victims. Victimization of migrants seems to have increased at a slower pace than their presence in the host country. Yet, it was concentrated among young males between the ages of 15 and 39 living in the border region of Brazil with Venezuela. Evaluating the causal impacts of forced migration in a developing context is crucial to providing governments and international agencies with rigorous evidence to support policy decisions. In absence of the latter, public perception can play a key role as host populations may pressure authorities for anti-immigration policies based solely on perceptions. Moreover, violence hinders migration’s documented long-term benefits by imposing high economic and social costs.

Keywords: forced migration, violent crime, Brazil, Venezuelan crisis

Suggested Citation

Chicarelli Marques, Renan, Forced Migration and Violent Crime: Evidence from the Venezuelan Exodus to Brazil (October 27, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

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