Adhikari, Prakash. (2012) The Plight of the Forgotten Ones: Civil War and Forced Migration. International Studies Quarterly, doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2011.00712.x
© 2012 International Studies Association
Adding value to existing aggregate cross-national analyses on forced migration, I use subnational-level data to investigate circumstances that affect people’s decisions of whether or not to flee their homes during civilian conflicts. Building on existing literature, I argue that conflict by itself is not the sole factor affecting people’s decisions to flee or stay. Apart from a direct physical impact, civil war can destroy economic infrastructure and expose people to economic hardships, which can contribute to displacement. In addition, flight may be impeded or facilitated by such factors as geographical features, physical infrastructure, and social conditions under which people live. Using count data from the Maoists “people’s war” in Nepal, a subnational analysis of displacement is conducted to provide a more refined test of existing large-n studies on the causes of forced migration. The empirical results are consistent with the major hypotheses developed in the field. With more precise measures of conflict, economic and physical conditions, and presence of social networks, I demonstrate the importance of a rationalist framework in understanding the choice of flight.