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Can Employment Reduce Lawlessness and Rebellion? A Field Experiment with High-Risk Men in a Fragile State

85 Pages Posted: 2 May 2014 Last revised: 13 Jun 2015

Christopher Blattman

University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jeannie Annan

International Rescue Committee

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 12, 2015

Abstract

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.

Keywords: post-conflict, violence, reintegration, rehabilitation, employment, crime, training, agriculture, conflict, field experiment, Africa, Liberia, social reintegration

JEL Classification: D74, O12, J21, C93

Suggested Citation

Blattman, Christopher and Annan, Jeannie, Can Employment Reduce Lawlessness and Rebellion? A Field Experiment with High-Risk Men in a Fragile State (June 12, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2431293 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2431293

Christopher Blattman (Contact Author)

University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jeannie Annan

International Rescue Committee ( email )

New York, NY
United States

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