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Impact of Rohingya Refugees on Food Prices in Bangladesh: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Ashraful Alam, Indranil Dutta, M. Emranul Haque and Ricardo Nogales ()

Economics Discussion Paper Series from Economics, The University of Manchester

Abstract: The Rohingya crisis is the fourth largest displacement of population in the world, with most refugees sheltering in neighbouring Bangladesh. We use this event as a natural experiment to examine the impact of the sudden influx of Rohingyas on food prices in the main host region of Bangladesh. We have pieced together a unique data set on food prices based on unpublished information at local government levels covering the pre- and post-influx period. We use a difference-in-difference approach to identify the impact of the refugee influx on the prices in the local area. Our baseline results indicate that overall food prices increased by 8 percent in the host sub-district of Ukhia, with prices of protein and vegetables increasing by 7 and 36 percent, respectively. For aid-supplied food products, such as cereals and lentils, we do find a statistically significant mitigating effect on prices. However, they were not substantial enough to reverse the increase in food prices.

JEL-codes: C21 E31 H84 I31 J61 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-06, Revised 2022-04
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Published in World Development, Volume 154, June 2022.

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