What Happened to Midnight’s Children? Long-run Impacts of Accepting Refugees during India's Partition


Refugee policy is a contentious issue in many countries. Yet there remains little empirical evidence on the long-run economic impacts of accepting refugees. This paper examines this question by analysing refugee resettlement during the Partition of India in 1947, one of the largest population displacements of the twentieth century. Using rich data on migration flows and the location of refugee camps, we document that districts which had a Partition-era refugee camp are more industrialised today: they have more manufacturing firms, a higher share of employment in manufacturing industries, and a lower share of employment in agriculture. An instrumental variables strategy exploiting distance from the border and historical railway lines suggests a causal interpretation. 
Last updated on 11/13/2018