Crime-related Exposure to Violence and Social Preferences: Experimental Evidence from Bogotá

Produced by: 
Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Available from: 
July 2019
Paper author(s): 
Francesco Bogliacino
Camilo Gómez
Gianluca Grimalda
Conflict, Crime and Violence

In this paper, we study the relationship between exposure to violence (ETV) and pro-social behavior using two artefactual field experiments in Bogotá, Colombia. We focus on two dimensions of ETV: trauma and negative economic shock. In our first experiment, after manipulating a recall of ETV, we collate a number of decisions from a trust game and a dictator game. Using a design inspired by Falk and Zehnder (2013), we compare the measures of in-group bias at the district level. In our companion experiment, we use a similar design, which includes a Prisoners’ Dilemma, and we introduce a 2-by-2 design where we attempt to disentangle the effect of trauma and a negative wealth shock. Our results suggest that there is a positive relationship between ETV and pro-social behavior, driven by both trauma and shock. Finally, there is evidence of in-group bias at the district level in Bogotá, but this is task specific. When we explore possible mediating variables proposed by the literature, we find that only beliefs seem to be affected, however the result is not robust. On the other hand, evidence is consistent with a generalized explanation based on either the dual system theory or the role of negative emotions.


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