Working Paper

South-South refugee movements: Do pull factors play a role?


  • Mauro Lanati
  • Rainer Thiele
Publication Date


Studies analysing the pattern of international refugee flows have so far focussed on movements to OECD destinations, even though the vast majority of refugees live in non-OECD countries. Employing a standard gravity model of international migration, we fill this research gap by investigating the impact of destination country characteristics on south-south refugee movements over the period 2004-2019. Our findings suggest that refugees tend to move to safe neighbouring countries but also positively respond to local pull factors such as relatively high per-capita income levels and the availability of education and health services when choosing their country of destination. Donors have the ability to affect the direction of south-south refugee movements by investing in the social infrastructure of potential destination countries.

Kiel Institute Expert


Key Words

  • Sout-South Refugee Movements
  • Gravity Model
  • Pull Factors
  • Foreign Aid