Trusting Former Rebels: An Experimental Approach to Understanding Reintegration after Civil War

CERGE-EI Working Paper Series No. 512

73 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2014

See all articles by Michal Bauer

Michal Bauer

Charles University in Prague - Institute of Economic Studies; CERGE-EI

Nathan Fiala

University of Connecticut - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Ian Levely

Wageningen University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 1, 2014

Abstract

The stability of many post-conflict societies rests on the successful reintegration of former soldiers. We use an experimental approach to study reintegration in Northern Uganda and examine behavior of former soldiers together with the behavior of receiving communities towards this group. We focus on trust-based interactions and find that individual trustworthiness increases with the length of time a person was with the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group which forcibly recruited a large fraction of young people in the area. The effect is strongest among former soldiers who were abducted during childhood and is mute among those who soldiered during adulthood. These results are consistent with predictions of recent theories that highlight the importance of cooperation during war. Furthermore, members of receiving communities with an abductee son, who thus have better knowledge of former soldiers are aware of the behavioral difference. They believe former soldiers are more trustworthy than their peers and trust them more. Last, we find no evidence of preference-based discrimination, suggesting that anger is attenuated when communities do not attribute responsibility for committed violence to returning soldiers.

Keywords: trust, cooperation, civil war, endogenous preferences, soldiers, reintegration

JEL Classification: C93, D03, D74, O12

Suggested Citation

Bauer, Michal and Fiala, Nathan and Levely, Ian, Trusting Former Rebels: An Experimental Approach to Understanding Reintegration after Civil War (March 1, 2014). CERGE-EI Working Paper Series No. 512, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2417617 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2417617

Michal Bauer (Contact Author)

Charles University in Prague - Institute of Economic Studies ( email )

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Nathan Fiala

University of Connecticut - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

Ian Levely

Wageningen University ( email )

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Wageningen, 6706KN
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.IanLevely.com

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