Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Attitudes after the killing fields

There has been quite a bit of recent literature looking at the effects of exposure to war and political violence on attitudes. Couttenier, Protu,  Rohner and Thoenig have a recent paper on immigrants in Switzerland that is beautiful in terms of identification. Now, another paper came across my desk that looks super-interesting - Lata Gangadharan and co-authors have a paper on the after-effects of the Cambodian genocide. This was one of the biggest exterminations in recent history, carried out with incredible ferocity -- probably, some 2 million Cambodians were killed, equivalent to 25% of the population.

The abstract is:

We use a field experiment to examine the long-term effects of exposure to the
Cambodian genocide (1975-1979), on individuals’ pro-social and anti-social behavior and risk
preferences. We show that individuals who were exposed to the genocide during childhood
and early adolescence are less trusting, less altruistic, and more risk averse than those who
were not exposed. Our results are corroborated by survey questions on personality traits. The
findings suggest that direct exposure to genocide during childhood and early adolescence has
a lasting impact on social capital and on attitudes towards risk and could make individuals less
extroverted and agreeable.

No comments:

Post a Comment