The Perfect Storm: The Role of Public Health and Ethnic Composition in Refugees-related Conflict Initiation

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273 SS&H | UC Davis
About the paper

Why do some refugee influxes increase the likelihood of refugee-receiving states to initiate interstate while others do not? Existing studies find a strong relationship between refugees and interstate conflict. However, the specific conditions connecting refugees and interstate conflict initiation remain under explored. We suggest that refugees alone do not generate sufficient burden to push refugee-receiving states to initiate interstate conflict. Refugees are associated with an increased probability for conflict initiation only when refugee-receiving states face certain preexisting domestic conditions, particularly public health burdens and high ethnic homogeneity, that allow for the securitization of refugees. In addition to finding patterns consistent with current literature on refugees, civil and international conflict, we find that when refugees are present in states with low levels of preventive health care there is a higher likelihood conflict initiation. We also find evidence that suggests when refugee-receiving states have high ethnic homogeneity, it leads to a higher propensity for conflict initiation.


Tracy Kuo Lin
Tracy Kuo Lin
Postdoctoral Scholar, UC San Francisco

Tracy Kuo Lin received her Ph.D. in Political Science at the UC Davis. Her research agenda focuses on political determinants of health outcomes and the effect of relational structures of the international system on state behavior. In her dissertation, she examined how domestic health systems interact with international agreements, foreign health aid, trade flows, conflicts, and refugee flows to impact domestic health outcomes.





Aaron P. Shreve
UC Davis Political Science

Aaron P. Shreve received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the Minnesota State University, Moorhead. After that, he continued his studies at the University of Pittsburgh, focusing on Security Studies. He is currently pursuing his doctorate degree at UC Davis.

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