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Conflict, Refugees and Cities in Russia [Research Assistantship]

Department: Economics and Elliott School of International Affairs
Professor Remi Jedwab

Project Description: This project consists of measuring the effects of conflict on forced migration and long-term development in Russia. Before World War II, most people lived in the west of Russia. When Russia was invaded by Germany in 1941, Stalin decided to relocate most people and factories in the east of
Russia, a region that is both colder and less well-connected in terms of transportation infrastructure. This policy of forced relocation was partially enforced until 1989, after which freedom of movement was reinstated. In this project, we want to study what eventually happened to the cities that received a disproportionate number of refugees and factories, and test in particular if people and factories came back to the original cities in the west post-1989, or stayed in these possibly suboptimal locations in the east. We believe that the study would inform policy makers on the long-term spatial effects of wars and resettlement policies. For example, there are many very large refugee camps in Africa and the Middle-East that are currently becoming large cities, and the question is whether such cities will eventually disappear or stay permanently, depending on whether refugees settle there for good or eventually relocate to their place of origin.

Duties: The research assistant will have to help me: (i) locate some additional sources of data (e.g., maps or tables in books or historical studies, etc.), (ii) help me recreate some of this data in excel or in GIS (geographical information system). GIS is a format that is used to produce as well as analyze the maps that can be found in most books or reports. If the student doesn’t know how to create GIS data, I will train the student myself. I have software that is relatively easy to use. GIS skills are strongly valued by bilateral and multilateral aid agencies because they often need maps for their publications.

Time Commitment/Credits: 4-6 hours per week (average), 2 credits; OR 7+ hours per week, 3 credits

To Apply: Submit Cover Letter/Resume to jedwab@gwu.edu

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