Without special attention to creating economic opportunities for ex-combatants, they may be more likely to join rebellious groups, commit crime, and otherwise threaten political stability. In Liberia, researchers tested the effect of an intensive agricultural training program that also provided agricultural supplies and psychosocial counseling on employment activities, income, and socio-political integration.

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Host populations often believe they are negatively affected by refugees, but little is known about what kinds of assistance might foster positive relations and reduce tension. To address this, researchers are conducting a randomized evaluation in Uganda to measure the impact of programs supporting microenterprises on economic and social outcomes, including support for hosting more refugees and allowing them to work.

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The civil war in Syria caused large-scale forced displacement, both within Syria and to neighboring countries. What factors determine whether Syrians return home? With support from IPA’s Peace & Recovery Program, researchers from the Immigration Policy Lab conducted a representative survey of over 3,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon from August-October 2019 to learn about their return intentions.

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Displaced people and communities who have fled conflict depend heavily on external aid to meet their basic needs, but too little empirical evidence exists on the effectiveness of humanitarian assistance. To date, most humanitarian assistance has been provided in kind, but there has been a trend in the past 10 to 20 years towards the use of cash-based modalities such as vouchers, e-transfers, and direct cash transfers.

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In Myanmar, land disputes are common as many citizens lack formal documentation to prove their land ownership, and refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are unable to demonstrate continuous occupancy of their land. To identify effective ways to address this issue, researchers conducted a pilot evaluation of a community-based dispute resolution (CBDR) program, testing the feasibility of implementing the intervention at a larger scale.

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Can public health interventions help ameliorate the negative effects of disasters? How do disasters affect individual decision-making about important health behaviors?  In Mozambique, researchers are leveraging an ongoing randomized evaluation to examine whether a community-level HIV/AIDS program with risk-coping components, such as Village Savings and Loan groups, helps people cope with the aftermath of Cyclone Idai and reduce disaster-induced deterioration of health decision-making.

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As migration patterns change, further evidence of the impact of regulatory programs in developing countries is needed. In Colombia, researchers are evaluating the impact of a temporary working and residence permit program for Venezuelan migrants. Outcomes to be studied include labor indicators, health and integration measures.

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Burkina Faso has a strong history of peaceful coexistence among ethnic and religious groups, but in recent years has seen a rise of organized violence by Islamic extremists and a fracturing of social cohesion, particularly in rural areas. This pilot study assesses the effectiveness of a school-based peace and dialogue curriculum to strengthen social trust, resolve disputes non-violently, discourage radicalization, and rebuild communal norms of tolerance among youth.

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Ugandan women in the IPA WINGS program

Poverty is a staggering problem, with 46 percent of the world’s population living on less than 5.50 USD per day. Research shows that individuals experiencing poverty can leverage investments to increase their self-employment activities and improve their livelihoods  but often lack access to credit and insurance, thereby limiting their potential to benefit from investment opportunities.

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For new democracies and societies emerging from conflict, effective systems of dispute resolution are essential to maintaining a lasting peace and preventing violence. In Liberia, researchers examined the short and long-term impacts of introducing alternative dispute resolution (ADR) trainings on the rate at which community members resolved property disputes and the incidence of violence related to those disputes.

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Community policing, which aims to create opportunities for positive, mutually respectful interactions between civilians and the police, may increase citizen trust and enhance the ability of police to enforce the law, but little evidence has existed on this model outside of the US and other developed countries.

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Public insecurity and widespread mistrust of police among citizens is associated with decreased police legitimacy, which has negative consequences for effective policing. Research has demonstrated that when police officers interact with citizens following principles of procedural justice, citizens leave those interactions—even contentious ones—with an increased perception of trust in the police, which enhances legitimacy and efficacy.

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Cash assistance in emergency settings has been shown to assist recipients in mitigating resulting economic fallout, for example through increased food security. The VAT Compensation, a new unconditional cash transfer in Colombia, assists 1 million low-income households in navigating the economic crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Forcibly displaced people often live in overcrowded camps in countries with struggling health systems, making this population highly vulnerable to COVID‐19. In the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh, where large numbers of Rohingya refugees have settled in recent years after fleeing Myanmar, researchers worked with IPA to administer a phone-based survey to households in both refugee camps and nearby host communities.

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Many countries have struggled to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis in a way that provides for refugees’ human needs and ensures cohesive integration into host communities. Though many policies and programs focus on immediate aid and short-term goals, individual refugee recovery and the stability of host communities is best observed on a longer time horizon.

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