Neil Ferguson’s article on Ethnic Cooperation and Conflict in Kenya published in Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics

Peacebuilding Research Program Director Neil Ferguson’s newest article with Alicia Barriga, Nathan Fiala, and Martin Leroch has been published in the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. The article, titled “Ethnic Cooperation and Conflict in Kenya,” examines the effects of ethnic divisions and violence on social capital and economic interactions in Kenya.

The authors conducted experiments involving the Luo and Kikuyu ethnic groups, two of the largest Kenya, who experienced violence during the 2007 and 2008 post-electoral riots. In contrast to observational information, the findings showed that priming individuals on ethnic identity or the salience of election conflict did not significantly impact trust, coordination, altruism, or cooperation between the groups. The study challenges the belief that electoral violence inevitably leads to changes in economic behavior between ethnic groups, suggesting that cooperative failure may be overstated or influenced by other factors.

The publication of Ferguson’s research contributes to our understanding of the complex relationship between ethnic divisions, conflict experiences, and economic behavior. It has implications for societies dealing with ethnic tensions, offering insights that can inform policy decisions.

The full article can be accessed through the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics’ official website.

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