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Refugee EconomiesForced Displacement and Development$
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Alexander Betts, Louise Bloom, Josiah Kaplan, and Naohiko Omata

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795681

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198795681.001.0001

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The role of innovation

The role of innovation

(p.165) 8 The role of innovation
Refugee Economies

Alexander Betts

Louise Bloom

Josiah Kaplan

Josiah Naohiko

Oxford University Press

This chapter revisits one of the central themes in the book’s conceptual framework: the role of refugee agency in refugee economies. It explores how refugees innovate in their income-generating activities in ways that often create opportunities for themselves and the wider community. Recognizing innovation to be a process of creative problem-solving, the chapter highlights examples of ways in which particular refugee ‘outliers’ in Uganda have transformed constraints into opportunities. In order to theoretically relate these ideas to refugee economies, the chapter elaborates on the ideas of Joseph Schumpeter and endogenous growth theory to highlight how refugee innovation dynamically drives economic growth and has wider socio-economic effects for the community. It further highlights how recognizing these forms of ‘bottom-up innovation’ has implications for emerging contemporary debates on humanitarian innovation.

Keywords:   innovation, entrepreneurship, outliers, refugees, bottom-up innovation, humanitarian innovation

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