Ethnicity and Altruism after Violence: The Contact Hypothesis in Kosovo
21 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2014
Date Written: August 16, 2014
An enduring question for the social sciences is whether increasing contact and exposure between in-groups and out-groups enhances prospects for social tolerance and cooperation. Using dictator experiments with ethnic Serbs in post-war Kosovo, our research explores how norms of altruism are impacted by proximity to former rivals. In the aftermath of violence, proximity appears to amplify solidarity with the in-group but also increases empathy toward former adversaries. Based on a March 2011 study of 158 ethnic Serbs from regions across Kosovo with varying degrees of contact and separation from ethnic Albanians, we find that both out-group bridging and in-group bonding norms increase with exposure to the out-group. The inclusion of extended controls and matching for displacement by violence and other forms of victimization helps alleviate concerns about sorting and selection driving our results.
Keywords: Civil War, Norms, Ethnicity
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