The Economist highlights CEGA affiliated professor Jeremy Weinstein’s research at the Stanford Immigration Policy Lab which finds no correlation between the well-being of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon’s their desire to return home:
“Researchers from the Immigration Policy Lab at Stanford University and eth Zurich, a Swiss university, argue that such measures will fail. In a working paper published in November, they found that 63% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon hope to return home one day. Just 5%, however, expected to do so within the coming year, a stark gap between what refugees intend to do and what they are actively preparing to do. Moreover, they found no correlation between the well-being of refugees in Lebanon and their desire to return home.
What matters, they argue, are the conditions not in Lebanon, but in Syria—and those are increasingly bleak. Extortion starts at the border, where the Syrian government requires every citizen returning home to convert $100 into the debased local currency. Once inside, Syrians encounter queues in which people wait for hours, sometimes days, to obtain essentials such as bread and fuel. Those returning face the threat of forced conscription by a regime starved of manpower, and of arbitrary detention by a regime starved of cash. A Syrian activist group, founded by a former inmate in the notorious Sednaya prison, reckons the government has squeezed $900m in bribes out of detainees’ families since the war began.”
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