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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - World Development
Title Does Shelter Assistance Reduce Poverty in Afghanistan?
Volume 74
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 305-322
URL http://econpapers.repec.org/RePEc:unm:unumer:2014051
Forced migration, often resulting from violent conflict, imposes large economic costs on both
sending and receiving countries, on those agencies that coordinate humanitarian services
and most importantly upon the forced migrants themselves. Programs encouraging the return
of refugees are therefore potentially crucial interventions, which can result in all parties
benefiting. In this paper, we assess the UNHCR post-return shelter assistance program in
Afghanistan between 2009 and 2011, the country most affected by refugee movements, where
no less than one-third of the population is a returnee. We are motivated by the fact that the
resolution of lost housing and property is commonly understood as a key ingredient in
sustainable return and reintegration. Given the infeasibility of randomizing shelter assistance
to those repatriated, we implement a variety of matching techniques to insulate our results
from selection biases. Adopting a multidimensional approach, our results show that shelter
assistance reduces multidimensional poverty by around six percent. This reduction in poverty
is driven by particular indicators of deprivation including dietary diversity, food security and
heating, all of which are shown to fall by five to six percent depending on the matching
specification. The former results are particularly encouraging in the context of Afghanistan
given the prevalence of chronic malnutrition in the country.

Related studies

Loschmann, Craig, Christopher R Parsons, and Melissa Siegel. "Does Shelter Assistance Reduce Poverty in Afghanistan?." World Development (2015).
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