Civil War, Social Capital and Market Development: Experimental and Survey Evidence on the Negative Consequences of Violence
Recent studies have reported surprising increases in pro-social behavior following exposure to conflict. However, our research provides cautionary evidence of some important detrimental effects of conflict hidden within an overall trend toward increasing certain pro-social preferences. We draw our inferences from experimental and survey evidence we collected from a random sample in post-war Tajikistan. More than a decade after the civil war, which was characterized by insurgency and community infighting, exposure to conflict has opened a significant gap between norms people apply to others in their local communities compared to distant others. Our results show how conflict exposure undermines trust and fairness within local communities, decreases the willingness to engage in impersonal exchange, and reinforces kinship-based norms of morality. The robustness of the results to the use of pre-war controls, village fixed effects and alternative samples suggests that selection into victimization is unlikely to be the factor driving the results.
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