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Reintegrating Rebels into Civilian Life

Listed author(s):
  • 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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Article provided by Peace Science Society (International) in its journal Journal of Conflict Resolution.

Volume (Year): 57 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 598-626

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Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:57:y:2013:i:4:p:598-626
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