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Can War Foster Cooperation?

Listed author(s):
  • Michal Bauer
  • Christopher Blattman
  • Julie Chytilová
  • Joseph Henrich
  • Edward Miguel
  • Tamar Mitts

In the past decade, nearly 20 studies have found a strong, persistent pattern in surveys and behavioral experiments from over 40 countries: individual exposure to war violence tends to increase social cooperation at the local level, including community participation and prosocial behavior. Thus while war has many negative legacies for individuals and societies, it appears to leave a positive legacy in terms of local cooperation and civic engagement. We discuss, synthesize, and reanalyze the emerging body of evidence and weigh alternative explanations. There is some indication that war violence enhances in-group or "parochial" norms and preferences especially, a finding that, if true, suggests that the rising social cohesion we document need not promote broader peace.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 30 (2016)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 249-274

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:30:y:2016:i:3:p:249-74
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.30.3.249
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Dominic Rohner & Mathias Thoenig & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2013. "Seeds of distrust: conflict in Uganda," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 217-252, September.
  2. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  3. Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilová & Barbara Pertold-Gebicka, 2014. "Parental background and other-regarding preferences in children," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(1), pages 24-46, March.
  4. Giacomo De Luca & Marijke Verpoorten, 2015. "Civil war, social capital and resilience in Uganda," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 661-686.
  5. Bauer, Michal & Fiala, Nathan & Levely, Ian, 2014. "Trusting Former Rebels: An Experimental Approach to Understanding Reintegration After Civil War," Working Papers 31, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
  6. Maarten J. Voors & Eleonora E. M. Nillesen & Philip Verwimp & Erwin H. Bulte & Robert Lensink & Daan P. Van Soest, 2012. "Violent Conflict and Behavior: A Field Experiment in Burundi," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 941-964, April.
  7. Grossman, Guy & Manekin, Devorah & Miodownik, Dan, 2015. "The Political Legacies of Combat: Attitudes Toward War and Peace Among Israeli Ex-Combatants," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(04), pages 981-1009, September.
  8. 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, August.
  9. Pauline Grosjean, 2014. "Conflict and Social and Political Preferences: Evidence from World War II and Civil Conflict in 35 European Countries," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 56(3), pages 424-451, September.
  10. John Bellows & Edward Miguel, 2006. "War and Institutions: New Evidence from Sierra Leone," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 394-399, May.
  11. Scheve, Kenneth & Stasavage, David, 2010. "The Conscription of Wealth: Mass Warfare and the Demand for Progressive Taxation," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(04), pages 529-561, October.
  12. Giacomo De Luca & Marijke Verpoorten, 2015. "Civil War and Political Participation: Evidence from Uganda," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(1), pages 113-141.
  13. Francesco Cecchi & Koen Leuveld & Maarten Voors, 2016. "Conflict Exposure and Competitiveness: Experimental Evidence from the Football Field in Sierra Leone," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(3), pages 405-435.
  14. Katherine Casey & Rachel Glennerster & Edward Miguel, 2012. "Reshaping Institutions: Evidence on Aid Impacts Using a Preanalysis Plan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(4), pages 1755-1812.
  15. Leonardo Becchetti & Pierluigi Conzo & Alessandro Romeo, 2014. "Violence, trust, and trustworthiness: evidence from a Nairobi slum," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 283-305, January.
  16. Maarten J Voors & Erwin H Bulte, 2014. "Conflict and the evolution of institutions: Unbundling institutions at the local level in Burundi," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 51(4), pages 455-469, July.
  17. Henrich, Joseph, 2004. "Cultural group selection, coevolutionary processes and large-scale cooperation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 3-35, January.
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