No.44 Equity with Prejudice: International NGOs and Healthcare Delivery in Refugee Crises
Melani Cammett and Aytuğ Şaşmaz
Refugees often face prejudice in host countries. Does local resentment of refugees result in discrimination in access to social services? We explore the quality of care received by Syrian refugees and Lebanese nationals in Lebanese health facilities using data from original surveys in a nationally representative sample of primary health centers. The conventional wisdom in research on intergroup relations suggests Syrians would receive inferior services, while research on prosocial behavior would predict little variation, whether due to intrinsic or extrinsic motivations. Our results indicate no difference in the quality of care for Syrians and Lebanese. Instead, they suggest incentives from international organizations at both the organizational and individual levels, as well as perceived public health imperatives, may explain equitable treatment, despite evidence for prejudice against Syrians. The findings advance research on the politics of refugee crises and humanitarian response, illuminating the experience of everyday life for refugees.