Sometimes you just have to leave: Domestic threats and forced migration, 1964-1989

Christian A. Davenport, Will H. Moore, Steven C. Poe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

222 Scopus citations


In this study we explore why persons flee their homes to become refugees and internally displaced persons. We contend that individuals will tend to flee when the integrity of their person is threatened. Further, we argue that they will flee toward countries where they expect conditions to be better. We conduct statistical analyses using fixed effects least squares, on a pooled cross-sectional time-series data set, consisting of data from 129 countries for the years 1964-1989. Our findings support the conclusion that threats to personal integrity are of primary importance in leading people to abandon their homes. Measures of state threats to personal integrity, dissident threats to personal integrity, and joint state-dissident threats each have statistically significant and substantively important effects on migrant production. We also find that countries making moves toward democracy tend to have greater number of forced migrants, once other factors are considered. We conclude the analysis by identifying several lucrative areas for further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-55
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Interactions
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Human rights
  • Internally displaced persons
  • Migration
  • Persecution
  • Refugees
  • Repression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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