On the behavioral impacts of violence: Evidence from incentivized games in Kenya

Political violence is a major impediment to economic development, damaging social, physical and human capital. By contrast, the manner in which violence influences prosocial behaviors is less clear cut, even though these behaviors likely contribute to post-conflict outcomes at individual and aggregate levels. We propose that the standard routes through which the experience of violence is thought to increase prosocial behaviors offer different theoretical explanations under heterogeneous conflict exposure histories and for different behavioral domains. We test these hypotheses using incentivized behavioral experiments, collected in the context of electoral violence in Kenya. While we provide some evidence that exposure to violence increases prosocial behaviors, results display significant heterogeneities relating both to the dimensions of behavior analyzed and whether or not individuals were personally injured.

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Ferguson, N. T. N., Leroch, M. A. (2022) On the beavioral impacts of violence: Evidence from incentivized games in Kenya. European Journal of Political Economy, published 9 December 2022. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2022.102352

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