This Blog is written by Aalaa Halaka
Dr. Caroline Krafft is an assistant professor of economics at St. Catherine University in Minnesota, and has been working closely with Dr. Ragui Assaad on many research projects concerning MENA labor markets at ERF. Caroline presented a Situation Analysis of the Syrian Refugee Influx based on analysis of the recently published Jordan Labor Market Panel Survey (JLMPS) 2016 data at the The Impacts of the Syrian Refugees Influx on the Jordanian Economy conference.
Caroline discusses the Syrian refugee profile and its importance in analyzing their impact on the Jordanian society and labor market. She explains that the research found that Syrian refugees in Jordan are predominantly young and has a majority of female-headed households, in addition to living in host communities rather than official refugee camps. These findings entail that there are relatively few adult men joining the labor market, meaning that the refugees are actually creating as much additional demand for services as additional labor supply; the net effect thus is that there hasn’t really been any change in the labor market.
She adds that it is very important to realize that Jordan has had a number of economic challenges preceding the arrival of Syrian refugees. In her opinion, it is the Syrian conflict and not necessarily the Syrian refugees that had a negative effect on the Jordanian economy, such as the end of the trade with Syria over the border.
Caroline stresses on the importance of taking into consideration Jordan’s economic situation before the Syrian crisis and because of it when talking about policies that are to address the refugee influx. She also concludes that the initial humanitarian response to the refugee influx should rather be directed toward a rather more developmental response, which aims to protect vulnerable refugee population, and invest in the human capital that will allow them to contribute to the Jordanian economy and society.
The Policy Conference on Employment, Education and Housing in Jordan: The Impacts Of The Syrian Refugee Influx is held in Amman, Jordan, on 13 May 2018. This event aims to examine the impact of the Syrian refugee influx on various aspects of life for Jordanians, including their labor market outcomes, their access to education services and housing, and their demographic behavior in terms of marriage and fertility. Visit the conference website to find out more about the events and access policy briefs, working papers, videos and blogs.