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American Economic Review: Vol. 102 No. 2 (April 2012)


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Violent Conflict and Behavior: A Field Experiment in Burundi

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Voors, Maarten J., Eleonora E. M. Nillesen, Philip Verwimp, Erwin H. Bulte, Robert Lensink, and Daan P. Van Soest. 2012. "Violent Conflict and Behavior: A Field Experiment in Burundi." American Economic Review, 102(2): 941-64.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.2.941


We use a series of field experiments in rural Burundi to examine the impact of exposure to conflict on social, risk, and time preferences. We find that conflict affects behavior: individuals exposed to violence display more altruistic behavior towards their neighbors, are more risk-seeking, and have higher discount rates. Large adverse shocks can thus alter savings and investments decisions, and potentially have long-run consequences—even if the shocks themselves are temporary. (JEL C93, D12, D74, 012, 017, 018)

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Voors, Maarten J. (Wageningen U and U Cambridge)
Nillesen, Eleonora E. M. (Wageningen U)
Verwimp, Philip (Free U Brussels)
Bulte, Erwin H. (Wageningen U and Tilburg U)
Lensink, Robert (U Groningen and Wageningen U)
Van Soest, Daan P. (Free U Amsterdam and CentER, Tilburg U)

JEL Classifications

C93: Field Experiments
D12: Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D74: Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances
O12: Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
O17: Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
O18: Economic Development: Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure

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