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Abstract

What is the impact of religious repression on forced migration? While current and historical cases highlight the significance of state-sponsored religions repression, existing quantitative studies on forced migration have not sufficiently addressed the role of religion as a determinant of flight. We argue that religious repression undermines the quality of life, quality of religious observance, and physical integrity of religious communities, and therefore increases incentives to leave. We test this through a quantitative analysis of forced migration data from 1990 to 2008 and several measures of religious repression, using a negative binomial regression. We find that state-driven religious repression, in particular religious bans, tends to increase forced migration. These findings contribute to the body of forced migration literature and the study of religion and politics by demonstrating the significant effects religious repression has on this aspect of world politics.

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