How Information Cascades Cause Refugee Crises: Evidence from Kosovo
Refugee crises repeatedly surprise the international community with their size and suddenness, yet we know little about what drives them. I develop a theory of refugee crises in which civilians living in conflict zones make individual decisions to flee in response to new information about the risk of victimization in war. The information conveyed by observing refugees fleeing can result in an information cascade, in which waves of refugees fleeing cause other civilians to increase their beliefs about the risk, increasing the numbers of subsequent refugees. To test this theory, I construct a geocoded village-day level dataset of refugee flows, violence against civilians, and the actions of armed groups during the Kosovo war. I develop an instrumental variables estimation strategy using the spatial network of villages connected by roads and the fact that refugees fled toward a single border crossing to estimate the causal spillover effect of refugees fleeing. I find that on average a refugee fleeing causes more than one additional civilian to flee.
Cell Phones and Internal Displacement in Civil War
Nationalistic Education and the Malleability of Ethnicity in Moldova
Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors? The Impact of Border Fence Expansion on the Mexican Drug War
The Effect of Exposure to Immigrants on Anti-immigrant Sentiment
(with Barbara Maria Piotrowska)