Reducing Crime and Violence: Experimental Evidence on Adult Noncognitive Investments in Liberia

108 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2016

See all articles by Christopher Blattman

Christopher Blattman

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

Julian C. Jamison

University of Exeter Business School - Department of Economics; World Bank eMBeD (Mind, Behavior, and Development); Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); Innovations for Poverty Action

Margaret Sheridan

Harvard Medical School/Boston Children's Hospital; University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 20, 2016

Abstract

The paper shows that self-control, time preferences, and values are malleable in adults, and that investments in these skills and preferences reduce crime and violence. The authors recruited criminally-engaged Liberian men and randomized half to eight weeks of group cognitive behavioral therapy, fostering self-regulation, patience, and noncriminal values. They also randomized $200 grants. Cash alone and therapy alone dramatically reduced crime and violence, but effects dissipated within a year. When cash followed therapy, however, crime and violence decreased by as much as 50 percent for at least a year. They hypothesize that cash reinforced therapy's lessons by prolonging practice and self-investment.

Keywords: Inequality, Disability, Economic Assistance, Governance Diagnostic Capacity Building, Macroeconomic Management, Services & Transfers to Poor, Access of Poor to Social Services, Economic Forecasting

Suggested Citation

Blattman, Christopher and Jamison, Julian C. and Sheridan, Margaret, Reducing Crime and Violence: Experimental Evidence on Adult Noncognitive Investments in Liberia (April 20, 2016). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7648. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2768500

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
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Julian C. Jamison

University of Exeter Business School - Department of Economics ( email )

Streatham Court
Exeter, EX4 4RJ
United Kingdom

World Bank eMBeD (Mind, Behavior, and Development) ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

30 Wadsworth Street, E53-320
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Innovations for Poverty Action ( email )

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

Margaret Sheridan

Harvard Medical School/Boston Children's Hospital ( email )

25 Shattuck St
Boston, MA 02115
United States

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Psychology and Neuroscience ( email )

Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States

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