Neil Ferguson, Senior Researcher at ISDC, Eleonora Nillesen, Research Affiliate at ISDC and Professor of Economics at UNU-MERIT, and Tilman Brück, Director of ISDC, have published new research on the relationships between jobs programmes and peace in the journal Economics Letters. The research, titled “Can employment build peace? A pseudo-meta-analysis of employment programmes in Africa” critically evaluates the impact of large employment programmes on peace- and stability-related indicators in five fragile African countries. Results show that such programmes appear to send positive signals to the communities they target. Individuals in all five countries reported reduced fears of being victimised by crime compared to reference individuals living in communities that were not targeted with programming, for example. However, other indicators, such as trust in government, appear to worsen as a result, suggesting both positive and negative externalities can arise. Perhaps more importantly, the research shows that “employment for peace” programmes do not take place in the within-country regions with the worst observable stability indicators, calling into question the motives of programme administrators.
In the last 15 years, civil conflict has gradually become an important subject of study for empirical economists. As a result, conflict research has adopted many empirical methods from mainstream economics. Furthermore, there is now a broad consensus that violent political conflict and economic development are intertwined, and a fast-growing literature studies this relationship with micro-data. At the same time, applied research on conflict is increasingly embracing new empirical methods, such as RCTs, geospatial analysis using high-resolution satellite imagery, machine learning methods, big data applications, and the large-scale digitization of archival resources. Each of these research tools has strengths and limitations and is the subject of ongoing methodological debates.
Tilman Brück’s and Neil Ferguson’s letter to the Editor on the peace process in Northern Ireland has been published in the Economist. The letter refers to their study “Money Can’t Buy Love But Can it Buy Peace? Evidence from the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation” that looked at the second wave of PEACE programmes and […]