Journal Article | Journal of Refugee Studies | September 2007

Refugee Camp Economies

by Eric D. Werker


This paper describes the economy of a refugee camp. Key distortions to the economy of Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in Uganda are noted and the findings are used to construct a generic model of a refugee camp economy. Camp economies are influenced by host country policies, such as restrictions on refugees' movement and work, as well as by the physical and economic isolation of the site. Moreover, market outcomes interact with the nature of humanitarian assistance and the special demographic composition of the refugees to determine the prices and quantities that characterize the market. An awareness of the dynamics of the refugee camp economy has important implications for practitioners and scholars alike.

Keywords: Refugees; Economy; Policy; Civil Society or Community; Human Needs; Societal Protocols; Uganda;


Werker, Eric D. "Refugee Camp Economies." Journal of Refugee Studies 20, no. 3 (September 2007): 461–480.