Research event

Property rights and post-conflict recovery: Evidence from IDP return movements in Iraq

Sigrid Weber presents her research on "Property rights and post-conflict recovery". This event is part of the International Security Research Colloquium hosted by the Centre for International Security.

Who lives in my house now and will I be able to access my own home when I return? One important factor that might explain why some displaced populations return home after having fled violence while others remain uprooted are housing, land and property rights. Together with Alexandra Hartman (University College London), Sigrid Weber uses original data from a 2019 survey of Iraqi internally displaced persons and returnees in the post-conflict areas of Iraq and a targeted 2021 survey of Yazidis around Sinjar to highlight how uncertain and discriminatory access to property rights impede decisions to return home after displacement.

Using spatial matching, survey experiments and descriptive evidence, the project shows that individuals with more secure property rights are more likely to actually return home. The project also demonstrates that housing, land and property rights affect return decision making because uncertain and unequal/discriminatory access to property rights shapes which population groups can return, recover economically and reintegrate politically and socially. Monitoring and improving access to property rights for displaced persons in conflict-affected situations may hence be crucial to predict return behaviour, facilitate transitional justice measures and support a stable transition to peace after conflict.


Sigrid Weber

  • Sigrid Weber is a PhD candidate in Political Science at University College London. Her research focuses on internal displacement, local conflict dynamics, and territorial control in civil wars. Using a range of quantitative methods – from machine learning to survey experiments – she explores when and how civilians make their choices to flee and return, how we can predict resulting patterns of conflict and migration and what the short- and long-term consequences of these population movements are on conflict dynamics and post-conflict situations. Sigrid also works as a consultant with the World Bank-UNHCR Joint Data Center on Forced displacement, supporting the implementation of surveys on forcibly displaced populations and improving official statistics on displacement. She gained her MSc in Security Studies  at University College London and a BA in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Konstanz.