Reintegrating Rebels into Civilian Life
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.