Job Market Outcomes of IDPs: The Case of Georgia

Karine Torosyan, Norberto Pignatti and Maksym Obrizan

IZA Discussion Paper Series, No. 11301 (2018)


The paper examines labor market outcomes for IDPs in protracted displacement in Georgia. Using 13 years of Integrated Household Surveys, the authors find that labor market outcomes for IDPs are much worse than those of local residents and ‘voluntary movers’ with similar observable characteristics, and disparities persist over time. Specificslly, IDPs are 3.9 to 11.2 percentage points less likely to be in the labor force, depending on the period and duration of IDP status. While all new internal migrants (both voluntary and IDPs) have around a 20 percent lower labor force participation rate compared to locals who have always lived in their current location—over time voluntary internal migrants regain labor market activity and almost catch up to locals, but IDPs labor market participation does not seem to improve with length of tenure in the same location. IDPs are also up to 11.6 percentage points more likely to be unemployed, sometimes even after 20 years of forced displacement. Approximately one out of every 4 or 5 working aged IDPs is unemployed, which in some periods is almost double the incidence of unemployment among local residents, and employment prospects do not seem to improve with length of tenure in the same location. Additionally, IDPs residing in a locality for more than five years receive persistently lower wages than local residents with similar characteristics, with the gap widening over time, reaching some 16 percent in the last period under analysis. The authors conclude that labor market costs of forced displacement are long lasting in nature and warrant serious attention from researchers and policy makers. One exception is the situation of new IDPs in the Mtskheta/Kartli area in the period 2013-2016, which followed a significant period of support by the government and international organizations for IDPs from the 2008 conflict (who concentrated in this area) and overlaps with a period when the government was looking for more long-term solutions to the IDP problem.