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Reintegrating Rebels into Civilian Life


  • Michael J. Gilligan

    () (Department of Politics, New York University, New York, NY, USA)

  • Eric N. Mvukiyehe

    (Department of Political Science, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA)

  • Cyrus Samii

    (Department of Politics, New York University, New York, NY, USA)


Considerable resources are devoted to ex-combatant reintegration programs in current peace processes, but evidence on their effectiveness remains thin. We use original survey data to study an ex-combatant reintegration program implemented after Burundi's 1993-2004 civil war. Previous quantitative studies have found reintegration programs to be ineffective, but only ex-combatants who self-selected into programs were studied. We avoid such selection problems with a quasi-experimental design exploiting an exogenous bureaucratic failure. We find the program resulted in a 20 to 35 percentage point reduction in poverty incidence among ex-combatants and moderate improvement in livelihoods. But this economic boost does not seem to have caused political reintegration: while we find a modest increase in propensities to report civilian life as preferable to combatant life, we find no evidence that the program contributed to either more satisfaction with the peace process or a more positive disposition toward current government institutions.

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  • Michael J. Gilligan & Eric N. Mvukiyehe & Cyrus Samii, 2013. "Reintegrating Rebels into Civilian Life," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 57(4), pages 598-626, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:57:y:2013:i:4:p:598-626

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Colombo & Olivia D'Aoust & Olivier C. Sterck, 2014. "From Rebellion to Electoral Violence: Evidence from Burundi," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-20, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    2. Sarah Zukerman Daly, 2016. "Determinants of former combatants’ attitudes toward transitional justice," HiCN Working Papers 235, Households in Conflict Network.
    3. Michael J. Gilligan, 2016. "Employment and rebellion in conflicted and fragile states," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 271-271, June.
    4. Olivia D'Aoust & Olivier Sterck & Philip Verwimp, 2013. "Buying Peace: The Mirage of Demobilizing Rebels," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2013-22, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    5. Christopher Blattman & Jeannie Annan, 2015. "Can Employment Reduce Lawlessness and Rebellion? A Field Experiment with High-Risk Men in a Fragile State," NBER Working Papers 21289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Koenig, Christoph, 2015. "Loose Cannons – War Veterans and the Erosion of Democracy in Weimar Germany," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1079, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.


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