Risk-Taking, Trust, and Traumatization Among Syrian Refugees in Jordan – A Lab-in-The-Field Experiment
30 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 17, 2017
An unprecedented number of refugees from Syria has sought refuge in both the Middle East as well as in Europe since the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011. Refugees do not only bring patterns of behavior they have acquired over their childhood and adolescence with them but also the – possibly traumatic – civil war experience. In this paper, we inquire whether traumatization affects behavior. We report the results of experiments run in Jordan in March and May 2017 among both Syrian refugees and Jordanians. More specifically, we report results regarding risk preferences, trust, and altruism. It turns out that the choices made by Syrian students are often statistically indistinguishable from the choices made by Jordanian students whereas there are significant differences in behavior between Syrian non-students and both of our student samples. The degree of traumatization has some effects on behavior in these games. It is driven by having experienced the loss of close relatives in Syria and by having spent some time in refugee camps in Jordan.
Keywords: Risk preferences, trust, trustworthiness, altruism, experiments, refugees, traumatic experience, post-traumatic stress disorder
JEL Classification: C93, D02, D74, D91, O17, Z13
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