Ethnic Riots and Pro-Social Behavior: Evidence from Kyrgyzstan

  • 26 Feb 2019

    12:30-14:00, Clay Room, Nuffield College

  • Political Science Seminars   Add to Calendar
Speaker: Professor Anselm Hager

University of Konstanz

Joint work with Krzystof Krakowski and Max Schaub.

Abstract: Do ethnic riots affect pro-social behavior? A common view among scholars of ethnic violence is that riots increase cooperation within the warring groups, while cooperation across groups is reduced. We revisit this hypothesis by studying the aftermath of the 2010 Osh riot in Kyrgyzstan, which saw Kyrgyz from outside the city kill over 400 Uzbeks. We implement a representative survey, which includes unobtrusive experimental measures of pro-social behavior. Our causal identification strategy exploits variation in the distance of neighborhoods to armored military vehicles, which were instrumental in orchestrating the riot. We find that victimized neighborhoods show substantially lower levels of pro-social behavior. Importantly, we demonstrate that the reduction is similarly stark both within and across groups. Using qualitative interviews, we parse out two mechanisms that help explain the surprising reduction in ingroup prosociality: Victimized Uzbeks felt abandoned by their coethnics, and variation in victimization created a feeling of suspicion.

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