M. Di Maio, F. Fasani, V. Leone Sciabolazza, V. Molini (2022), Facing Displacement and a Global Pandemic: Evidence from a Fragile State, CEPR discussion paper, DP17104, R&R Journal of Demographic Economics

We use novel survey data to assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the Libyan population. In our sample, 9.5% of respondents report that a household member has been infected by COVID-19, while 24.7% of them have suffered economic damages and 14.6% have experienced negative health effects due to the pandemic. Our analysis focuses on the differences between IDPs and non-displaced individuals, controlling for individuals and household characteristics, geo-localized measures of economic activity and conflict intensity. Displaced individuals do not experience higher incidence of COVID-19 relative to comparable non-displaced individuals, but are about 60% more likely than non-displaced respondents to report negative economic and health impacts caused by the pandemic. Our results suggest that the larger damages suffered by IDPs can be explained by their weaker economic status – which leads to more food insecurity and indebtedness – and by the discrimination they face in accessing health care.


M. Battaglini, V. Leone Sciabolazza, E. Patacchini (2020), Abstentions and Social Networks in Congress, NBER Working Paper 27822 [Conditionally accepted, The Journal of Politics]

We study the extent to which personal connections among legislators influence abstentions in the U.S. Congress. Our analysis is conducted by observing representatives’ abstention for the universe of roll call votes held on bills in the 109th-113th Congresses. Our results show that a legislator’s propensity to abstain increases when the majority of his or her alumni connections abstains, even after controlling for other well-known predictors of abstention choices and a vast set of fixed effects. We further reveal that a legislator is more prone to abstain than to take sides when the demands from personal connections conflict with those of the legislator’s party.

Download PDF

Michele Di Maio , Valerio Leone Sciabolazza , Vasco Molini (2019), “Migration in Libya: a spatial network analysis. ” World Bank, Policy Research Working Paper 9110, R&R World Development.

This paper provides the first systematic analysis of migration to, within, and from Libya. The data used in the analysis are from the Displacement Tracking Matrix data set of the International Organization for Migration. The analysis uses this unique source of data, combining several techniques to analyze various dimensions of migration in Libya. First, the paper provides a detailed description of the demographic characteristics and national composition of the migrant populations in Libya. Next, it discusses the determinants of migration flow within Libya. The findings show that migration in Libya can be characterized as forced migration, because conflict intensity is the main determinant of the decision to relocate across provinces. Finally, the paper describes the direction, composition, and evolution of international migration flows passing through Libya and identifies the mechanisms of location selection by migrants within Libya by identifying hotspots and cluster provinces.

Download paper (PDF)