Violence and the Formation of Hopelessness and Pessimistic Prospects of Upward Mobility in Colombia

46 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2014

See all articles by Andres Moya

Andres Moya

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Michael Carter

University of California, Davis

Date Written: September 2014

Abstract

We explore the impact of violence on perceived prospects of upward mobility. For a sample of victims of violence in Colombia, we bring together data on expected upward mobility, exposure to violence, and symptoms of psychological trauma. After controlling for material losses and current circumstances, we find that exposure to more severe violence leads victims’ perceived prospects of upward mobility to become increasingly hopeless. The estimated impacts are large: victims exposed to more severe violence expect that the likelihood of being in extreme poverty in the long-run is more than two times as high than those exposed to less severe violence. Additional evidence indicates that depression and psychological trauma mediate this result, identifying a channel by which these pessimistic expectations can become self-confirming. Together, these findings suggest the existence of a psychological poverty trap and the need to rethink strategies to assist the economic recovery of the victims of violence.

Suggested Citation

Moya, Andres and Carter, Michael, Violence and the Formation of Hopelessness and Pessimistic Prospects of Upward Mobility in Colombia (September 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20463, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2492973

Andres Moya (Contact Author)

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Carrera Primera # 18A-12
Bogota, D.C. 110311
Colombia
5713394949 (Phone)
13394949 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://economia.uniandes.edu.co/moya

Michael Carter

University of California, Davis ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Apt 153
Davis, CA 95616
United States

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