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16:00 - 18:00 1 December 2014

Reducing crime and violence: Experimental evidence from behavior change and cash transfers


Ricardo Lecture Theatre | Drayton House (link Map)
30 Gordon Street | London | WC1H 0AN | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Student
Ticketing: Open

Speaker information

Chris Blattman, Columbia University

Poor, high-risk men are sources of economic and political instability through crime, drugs, election violence, riots, and rebellion. We evaluate two interventions to reduce crime and violence among 999 adult men in Liberia who pose extreme risks. The first is a short program of behavioral therapy that fosters “noncognitive” skills and preferences associated with self-control and non-violence. Another intervention provided $200. We assigned men to receive therapy, cash, both, or neither. Men saved and invested the cash in business, whether they received therapy or not. Initially their incomes increased, but effects dissipated within a year. Therapy, however, increased skills of self control and they adopted a more mainstream social identity and values. This led to large, sustained falls in crime and violence---especially among men receiving cash and therapy. Self-control and identity appear to be malleable into adulthood.


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