UC Davis Managerial Economics

ARE in Action: Professor Edward Taylor in Harvard Business Review: How to Design a Refugee Camp

Dec. 19, 2017

The ARE in Action series focuses on getting to know how ARE faculty and graduate students utilize the skills introduced in the managerial economics major to perform impactful research throughout the world.

The world’s refugee population reached nearly 70 million people last year. Most refugees are in poor countries neighboring conflict zones. More than 22 million were under the care of the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, mostly housed in refugee camps. How can you design a refugee camp to maximize the welfare of refugees while stimulating income and production by the host-country population living around the camp? That is the question ARE Professor J. Edward Taylor took on in a recent Harvard Business Review article. Taylor and ARE graduate students spent three years studying the economic impacts of refugees on host-country populations within a 10-15 kilometer radius of UN refugee settlements in two African countries: Rwanda and Uganda (Uganda is one of the largest refugee-hosting countries in the world). They found that the use of new technologies, including mobile money transfers to cell phones, and careful choice of camp locations can result in refugees creating more income for the host country than the UN’s cost of supporting them in camps.

Click here to read the HBR article.

You might spot some of your TAs' names (Mo Alloush, Anubhab Gupta, Irvin Rojas, and Heng Zhu; also, Mateusz Filipski, one of our alumni now at IFPRI) on these articles from the project:

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