Disentangling the Determinants of Successful Demobilization and Reintegration
Since 1989, international efforts to end protracted conflicts in Africa, Latin America, and Asia have included sustained investments in the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of combatants from the warring parties. Yet, while policy analysts have debated the organizational factors that contribute to a successful DDR program, little is known about the factors that account for successful DDR at the micro level. Using a new dataset of ex-combatants in Sierra Leone, this paper analyzes, for the first time, the individual level determinants of demobilization and reintegration. Conventional views about the importance of age and gender for understanding reintegration find little support in the data. Instead, we find that an individual’s prospect of gaining acceptance from family and neighbors depends largely on the abusiveness of the unit in which he or she fought. Finally, while internationally-funded programs designed to assist the demobilization and reintegration process may have had an effect at the macro-level, we find no evidence that those who participated in DDR programs had an easier time gaining acceptance from their families or communities as compared to those who did not participate.
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