Against the Wind: a Lab-In-The-Field Experiment with Victims and Non-Victims of Conflict in Colombia

37 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2022

See all articles by Enrique Fatas

Enrique Fatas

University of Pennsylvania - School of Arts & Sciences; Universidad ICESI

Lina Restrepo-Plaza

Universidad del Valle

Date Written: October 2021


We present a lab-in-the-field experiment run with victims and non-victims of conflict in Colombia. Participants are either victims of conflict, ex-combatants or members of vulnerable groups, sharing socioeconomic characteristics with victims with the exception of conflict exposure. Participants are paired and they make unconditional contributions to a public good, and then conditional on the contribution of their counterpart using the strategy method. By comparing decisions across pairs we elicit outgroup discrimination (towards ex-combatants) and discrimination towards the ‘other ingroup’ (non-victims for victims, and victims for non-victims). By comparing unconditional and conditional decisions, we distinguish between beliefs- and preferences-based discrimination. We also elicit participants’ expectations (empirical and normative) in every interaction and study the role played by social norms. Both victims and non-victims discriminate ex-combatants significantly more than they discriminate each other, being their discrimination preference-based. However, victims discriminate ex-combatants significantly less than non-victims. While victims do not discriminate non-victims, they are discriminated by nonvictims, and their behavior is consistent with different social norms: ingroup discrimination of victims is supported by discriminatory norms held by non-victims. However, victims and non-victims hold the same discriminatory expectations towards ex-combatants and only non-victims conform to the norm.

Keywords: conflict, cooperation, social norms, ingroup-outgroup, preference-based discrimination, belief-based discrimination

Suggested Citation

Fatas, Enrique and Restrepo-Plaza, Lina, Against the Wind: a Lab-In-The-Field Experiment with Victims and Non-Victims of Conflict in Colombia (October 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Enrique Fatas (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - School of Arts & Sciences ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Universidad ICESI ( email )

Calle 18 #122-135
A.A. 25608

Lina Restrepo-Plaza

Universidad del Valle ( email )

Calle 13 No
Cali, 100-00

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