Explaining Recidivism of Ex-Combatants in Colombia

37 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2013 Last revised: 16 Sep 2016

See all articles by Oliver Kaplan

Oliver Kaplan

University of Denver - Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Enzo Nussio

Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich

Date Written: October 21, 2014

Abstract

What determines the recidivism of ex-combatants from armed conflicts? In post-conflict settings around the world there has been growing interest in reintegration programs to prevent ex-combatants from returning to illegal activities or to armed groups, yet little is known about who decides to “go bad.” We evaluate explanations for recidivism related to combatant experiences and common criminal motives by combining data from a representative survey of ex-combatants of various armed groups in Colombia with police records of observed behaviors that indicate which among the respondents returned to belligerent or illegal activities. Consistent with a theory of recidivism being shaped by driving and restraining factors, the results suggest that factors such as anti-social personality traits, weak family ties, lack of educational opportunities, and the presence of criminal groups are most highly correlated with various kinds of recidivism and hold implications for programs and policies to successfully reintegrate ex-combatants into society.

Keywords: recidivism, reintegration, DDR, Colombia, civil war

Suggested Citation

Kaplan, Oliver and Nussio, Enzo, Explaining Recidivism of Ex-Combatants in Colombia (October 21, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2350318 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2350318

Oliver Kaplan (Contact Author)

University of Denver - Josef Korbel School of International Studies ( email )

Denver, CO 80208
United States

Enzo Nussio

Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich ( email )

Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich, Zurich 8006
Switzerland

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