August 2010

IZA DP No. 5108: Intergenerational Transfer of Human Capital under Post-War Distress: The Displaced and the Roma in the Former Yugoslavia

published in: Gil Epstein and Ira Gang (eds.), Migration and Culture, Frontiers of Economics and Globalization, Vol. 8, Emerald Publishing, Bingley, 2010, 415-443

In this chapter, we investigate the effects of vulnerability on income and employment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia using a unique 2004 UNDP dataset. Treating the collapse of the former Yugoslavia as a natural experiment, we compare three groups that have been differently affected by the wars and post-war distress: the majority as the benchmark, the ex-ante and ex-post vulnerable Roma people, and the ex-ante equal but ex-post vulnerable refugees and internally displaced people (RIDPs). Our findings reveal significant negative effects of vulnerability on income and employment. RIDPs seem to be about as negatively affected as Roma across the four states, which indicate that vulnerability inflicted by relatively recent displacement may have similar effects as vulnerability rooted deep in the past. When we look at education as one of the key determinants of socio-economic outcomes, both groups exhibit similarly substandard educational outcomes of children and significant inertia in intergenerational transfer of human capital. Our findings highlight the need for policies that not only tackle vulnerability as such, but address the spillover effects of current vulnerability on future educational attainment.