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); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
International Rescue Committee
June 12, 2015
States and aid agencies use employment programs to rehabilitate high-risk men in the belief that peaceful work opportunities will deter them from crime and violence. Rigorous evidence is rare. We experimentally evaluate a program of agricultural training, capital inputs, and counseling for Liberian ex-fighters who were illegally mining or occupying rubber plantations. 14 months after the program ended, men who accepted the program offer increased their farm employment and profits, and shifted work hours away from illicit activities. Men also reduced interest in mercenary work in a nearby war. Finally, some men did not receive their capital inputs but expected a future cash transfer instead, and they reduced illicit and mercenary activities most of all. The evidence suggests that illicit and mercenary labor supply responds to small changes in returns to peaceful work, especially future and ongoing incentives. But the impacts of training alone, without capital, appear to be low.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 85
Keywords: post-conflict, violence, reintegration, rehabilitation, employment, crime, training, agriculture, conflict, field experiment, Africa, Liberia, social reintegration
JEL Classification: D74, O12, J21, C93
Date posted: May 2, 2014 ; Last revised: June 13, 2015
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