Friday, May 9, 2014
Christopher Blattman and Jeannie Annan (Columbia University - Department of Political Science and International Rescue Committee) have posted Can Employment Reduce Lawlessness and Rebellion? A Field Experiment with High-Risk Youth in a Fragile State on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
We evaluate an agricultural training and inputs program for high-risk Liberian men, mainly ex-fighters engaged in illegal resource extraction with opportunities for mercenary work. We show that economic incentives, including increased farm productivity, raised the opportunity cost of illicit work. After 14 months, treated men shifted hours of illicit resource extraction to agriculture by 20%. When a war erupted nearby, they were also less likely to engage in mercenary recruitment. Finally, exogenous variation in expected future capital transfers appears to be a further deterrent to mercenary work. We see no evidence the program affected occupational choice through peers or preferences.