Refugee or internally displaced person? To where should one flee?

Will H. Moore, Stephen M. Shellman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


This study investigates the circumstances that lead some countries to produce a large number of refugees and relatively few internally displaced persons (IDPs) as opposed to a large number of IDPs and relatively few refugees. The authors develop the hypothesis that refugee flows are greater in the face of state (sponsored) genocide/politicide than they are in response to other state coercion, dissident campaigns of violence, or civil wars. They also argue that countries surrounded by poor, authoritarian regimes will produce fewer refugees (relative to IDPs) than those surrounded by wealthy, democratic neighbors. A sample selection model is employed to conduct statistical analyses using data on a global sample of countries for the period from 1976 to 1995. The results support many of the authors' hypotheses and suggest that the choice-centered approach produces useful answers to new questions that other scholars have yet to ask.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-622
Number of pages24
JournalComparative Political Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Forced migration
  • Internally displaced persons
  • Refugees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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