Social Norms after Conflict Exposure and Victimization by Violence: Experimental Evidence from Kosovo
36 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2014
Date Written: April 4, 2014
An emerging literature points to heterogeneous effects of violence on social norms and preferences in conflict-ridden societies with implications for economic development and state-building. We consider how effects of conflict exposure and victimization could be impacted by observable and unobservable in-group/out-group divisions. Our research uses novel lab-in-the-field experiments to gauge norms for pro-social behavior in the aftermath of ethnic violence. Based on experimental data from stratified random samples of ethnic Albanians and Serbs, the study finds strong evidence of pro-social norms toward ethnically defined in-groups, but not toward out-groups. Examining individual variation in conflict exposure, we find that increasing victimization by violence further enhances in-group parochialism and out-group bias. The indiscriminate nature of violence during ethnic cleansing alleviates many endogeneity and selection concerns about victimization. Overall, our results provide evidence that pro-social effects of violence may be contingent on scope conditions such as the salience of in-group/out-group ties and boundaries.
Keywords: Norms, civil war, conflict, violence, Kosovo
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