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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 especially enhances in-group or "parochial" norms and preferences, a finding that, if true, suggests that the rising social cohesion we document need not promote broader peace.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 22312.

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Date of creation: Jun 2016
Publication status: published as Michal Bauer & Christopher Blattman & Julie Chytilová & Joseph Henrich & Edward Miguel & Tamar Mitts, 2016. "Can War Foster Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol 30(3), pages 249-274.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22312
Note: DEV PE POL
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