Can Employment Reduce Lawlessness and Rebellion? A Field Experiment with High-Risk Men in a Fragile State
Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA); Columbia University - Department of Political Science; Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD); Center for Global Development; Innovations for Poverty Action
International Rescue Committee
July 12, 2014
We evaluate an agricultural training and inputs program for high-risk Liberian men, mainly ex-fighters engaged in illegal resource extraction with opportunities for mercenary work. We show that increasing farm productivity raised the opportunity cost of illicit work. After 14 months, treated men shifted from illicit extraction to agriculture, though on the intensive margin only. When war erupted nearby, they were less likely to engage with mercenary recruiters. The promise of cash transfers to those staying on their farms deterred mercenary work more than past assistance. We provide the first rigorous, individual-level estimates on the opportunity cost effect outside the USA.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 74
Keywords: employment, crime, training, agriculture, conflict, field experiment, Africa, Liberia
JEL Classification: D74, O12, J21, C93working papers series
Date posted: May 2, 2014 ; Last revised: July 13, 2014
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