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Report

Occupations Under Fire: The labor market in a complex emergency

2013 — By Jennifer Alix-Garcia, Anne Bartlett

This paper examines the impact of conflict-induced population displacement on urban labor markets. Data from over 900 working-age individuals in Sudan indicates that long-term urban residents in conflict areas have a higher probability of being employed in skilled sectors relative to similar individuals in a non-conflict city, and a lower likelihood of becoming unemployed.

Recent arrivals to the conflict city, however, are much more likely to become unemployed. The data also show that young women entering the labor market during the conflict are less likely to be unemployed in the conflict city. This is consistent with a framework where war-induced population displacement from rural to urban areas generates demand for services provided by higher-skill workers, and increased competition for low-skill jobs. The data show that household wealth
of long term residents decreases in conflict zones. Negative wealth effects are smaller for those more dependent upon skilled sectors.