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Civil War and Social Capital: Behavioral-Game Evidence from Nepal

The UCLA Department of Political Science presents Professor Michael Gilligan from the Department of Politics at New York University.

Monday, October 18, 2010
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
4357 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Professor Gilligan used behavioral games and original survey data from Nepal to study how a community's exposure to violent conflict affects its stock of social capital. He found that communities with greater exposure to violence during Nepal's ten-year civil war exhibit significantly greater levels of social capital. His identification strategy, which exploits communities' exogenous isolation from the war due to Nepal's rugged terrain, suggests that this effect of conflict exposure is probably causal. A second contribution concerns the possible causal mechanisms for this relationship. Previous work has suggested a causal mechanism for this relationship at the level of individual preferences. His research team by contrast took a community-level approach arguing that communities that suffered war-related violence were forced to adopt new institutions that fostered pro-social behavior. They performed a test between these two possible causal mechanisms and find support for both, although the two mechanisms appear to operate on different components of social. They are much less confident in the results for the preference-based hypothesis because of potential selection bias, measurement error and the relatively small number of households were violently affected by the war. Their findings for a community-based mechanism bore none of these problems.

A light lunch will be served.

Cost : Free

Department of Political Science310-825-4331
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