Impact of Rohingya Refugees on Food Prices in Bangladesh: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Ashraful Alam, Indranil Dutta, M. Emranul Haque, Ricardo Nogales

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The Rohingya crisis is the fourth largest displacement of population in the world, with most refugees sheltering in neighbouring Bangladesh. We use this event as a natural experiment to examine the impact of the sudden influx of Rohingyas on food prices in the main host region of Bangladesh. We have pieced together a unique data set on food prices based on unpublished information at local government levels covering the pre- and post-influx period. We use a difference-in-difference approach to identify the impact of the refugee influx on the prices in the local area. Our baseline results indicate that overall food prices increased by 8 percent in the host sub-district of Ukhia, with prices of protein
and vegetables increasing by 7 and 36 percent, respectively. For aid-supplied food products, such as cereals and lentils, we do find a statistically significant mitigating effect on prices. However, they were not substantial enough to reverse the increase in food prices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105873
JournalWorld Development
Early online date17 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • Bangladesh
  • Difference in difference
  • Food prices
  • Refugees
  • Rohingya


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