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Violent Conflict and Behavior: A Field Experiment in Burundi

  • Maarten J. Voors
  • Eleonora E. M. Nillesen
  • Philip Verwimp
  • Erwin H. Bulte
  • Robert Lensink
  • Daan P. Van Soest

We use a series of field experiments in rural Burundi to examine the impact of exposure to conflict on social, risk, and time preferences. We find that conflict affects behavior: individuals exposed to violence display more altruistic behavior towards their neighbors, are more risk-seeking, and have higher discount rates. Large adverse shocks can thus alter savings and investments decisions, and potentially have long-run consequences--even if the shocks themselves are temporary. (JEL C93, D12, D74, 012, 017, 018)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 102 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 941-64

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:2:p:941-64
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  1. Tomomi Tanaka & Colin F. Camerer & Quang Nguyen, 2010. "Risk and Time Preferences: Linking Experimental and Household Survey Data from Vietnam," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 557-71, March.
  2. John List, 2006. "Field experiments: A bridge between lab and naturally occurring data," Artefactual Field Experiments 00083, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Valerie Cerra & Sweta Chaman Saxena, 2008. "Growth Dynamics: The Myth of Economic Recovery," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 439-57, March.
  4. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  5. Nick Netzer, 2009. "Evolution of Time Preferences and Attitudes toward Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 937-55, June.
  6. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-58, August.
  7. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 7831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. H Garretsen & M. Schramm & S. Brakman, 2003. "The Spatial Distribution of Wages: Estimating the Helpman-Hanson model for Germany," Working Papers 03-09, Utrecht School of Economics.
  9. Miguel, Edward & Roland, Gérard, 2011. "The long-run impact of bombing Vietnam," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 1-15, September.
  10. Andre, Catherine & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1998. "Land relations under unbearable stress: Rwanda caught in the Malthusian trap," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-47, January.
  11. Fehr, Ernst & Leibbrandt, Andreas, 2008. "Cooperativeness and Impatience in the Tragedy of the Commons," IZA Discussion Papers 3625, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Paul Collier & V. L. Elliott & Håvard Hegre & Anke Hoeffler & Marta Reynal-Querol & Nicholas Sambanis, 2003. "Breaking the Conflict Trap : Civil War and Development Policy," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13938.
  13. Bellows, John & Miguel, Edward, 2009. "War and local collective action in Sierra Leone," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1144-1157, December.
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