Refugees of the Mediterranean

The political economy of displacement and refugee flows

Large-scale population movements disrupt the economies and social fabrics of many countries. Understanding how substantial populations of involuntarily displaced individuals fare economically and how host communities are affected is crucial. This research explores the developmental impacts of refugee flows and the effect on host communities, and whether this differs across locations. It also examines the impact of resettlement on the refugees themselves and how mass immigration affects politics and voting patterns.

The intervention

This project aims to assess the short, medium and long-term consequences of the massive refugee influx that Greece experienced in the mid-1920s, when more than one million Greek-speaking people residing in Asia Minor and other parts of the Ottoman Empire had to abandon their homes and settled in Greece. Investigating the economic and political repercussions on the local communities of this historical watershed is the focus of this research.

The impact

As conflict and environmental issues are pushing millions of people to relocate, this research will help understand policy-relevant questions on the political economy of displacement and refugee flows. It will examine the development impact of refugee resettlement and shed light on education, entrepreneurship and occupational choices, as well as the impact of the refugee resettlement on voting and conflict during the Greek civil war.


Elias Papaioannou is Professor of Economics at London Business School and Academic Director of the Wheeler Institute for Business and Development. Elias’s research focuses on international finance, political economy, applied econometrics and growth and development. It has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals and his work has appeared in numerous edited collections.

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *