Thematic series: The ripple effect: economic impacts of internal displacement – Assessing the Economic Impacts Of Internal Displacement – Conceptual Framework – June 2018 – World

Fibo Quantum


The large numbers of new and cyclical displacements reported each year affect the achievement of economic and social development goals. Protracted displacement is increasingly becoming the norm and, combined with regular new displacement, it increases the vulnerability and exposure of already marginal populations and overstretches governments’ capacities to respond. As such, internal displacement is both a driver and outcome of a steady accumulation of risks, undermining progress on the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement, the Agenda for Humanity, the New Urban Agenda and their related national and regional strategies.

It is imperative that the current focus on international emergency response and humanitarian aid be complemented with longer-term, country-led interventions, but the case for significant investment in risk reduction, durable solutions for those displaced and the prevention of new displacement is yet to be made. Uncovering the hidden cost of internal displacement in terms of the economic development of affected people, countries and regions, and estimating the return on investment in reducing displacement for national governments and their partners would help to make that case.

Past studies have assessed the impact of international migration and refugee flows on work and other singular dimensions such as health or education. Others have attempted to assess the socioeconomic impact of cross-border or internal displacement at the local level, mostly using qualitative approaches.

No one, however, has made a systematic, quantitative estimate of the overall impact of internal displacement on an economy, and doing so requires new concepts and methods. This document introduces a new conceptual framework to assess the economic impact of internal displacement comprehensively across dimensions, time, countries and displacement contexts.