The Dynamics of Refugee Return: Syrian Refugees and Their Migration Intentions



Ala' Alrababa'h

Date and Time

October 28, 2020 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM


RSVP Required.


Virtual Seminar

* Please note all CISAC events are scheduled using the Pacific Time Zone.


Seminar Recording:


About the Event: Despite the importance of understanding how refugee crises end, we know little about when and why refugees, who were forced to emigrate, return home. We study the drivers of refugees’ decision-making using original observational and experimental survey data from a representative sample of approximately 3,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon. We find that conditions in a refugee’s home country are much more important than the situation in the host country in shaping return intentions. Specifically, our findings suggest that refugees’ decisions are influenced primarily by safety and security in their place of origin, their economic prospects, the availability of public services, and their personal networks. Confidence in information is also important: we find that several drivers of return---safety, services, and networks---only impact intentions among people who have high confidence in their information. By contrast, the conditions in hosting countries–so-called “push'” factors–play a negligible role in the process of refugee return. Even in the face of outright hostility and poor living conditions, refugees are unlikely to return unless the situation at home improves significantly.


About the Speakers: 

Ala’ Alrababa’h is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Stanford University, a graduate fellow at the Immigration Policy Lab, and a junior scholar at the International Policy Scholars Consortium and Network. His research combines fieldwork, machine learning, and experimental methods to study issues related to authoritarian media, political violence, and migration and refugees. His research has been published in Comparative Political Studies, Political Science Research and Methods, and International Studies Quarterly. Prior to arriving at Stanford University, Ala’ was a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


Jeremy Weinstein is Professor of Political Science, Fisher Family Director of Stanford Global Studies, and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research at Stanford University. He also is faculty co-director of the Immigration Policy Lab and the Data for Development Initiative. In addition, he is a non-resident fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C.

His research focuses on civil wars and political violence; ethnic politics; the political economy of development; democracy and accountability; and migration. He is the author of Inside Rebellion: The Politics of Insurgent Violence (Cambridge University Press), which received the William Riker Prize for the best book on political economy. He is also the co-author of Coethnicity: Diversity and the Dilemmas of Collective Action (Russell Sage Foundation), which received the Gregory Luebbert Award for the best book in comparative politics.

Share this Event