NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Christopher Blattman

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Working Papers

June 2015The Returns to Microenterprise Support Among the Ultra-Poor: A Field Experiment in Post-War Uganda
with Eric P. Green, Julian C. Jamison, M. Christian Lehmann, Jeannie Annan: w21310
We show that extremely poor, war-affected women in northern Uganda have high returns to a package of $150 cash, five days of business skills training, and ongoing supervision. 16 months after grants, participants doubled their microenterprise ownership and incomes, mainly from petty trading. We also show these ultrapoor have too little social capital, but that group bonds, informal insurance, and cooperative activities could be induced and had positive returns. When the control group received cash and training 20 months later, we varied supervision, which represented half of the program costs. A year later, supervision increased business survival but not consumption.
Can Employment Reduce Lawlessness and Rebellion? A Field Experiment with High-Risk Men in a Fragile State
with Jeannie Annan: w21289
States and aid agencies use employment programs to rehabilitate high-risk men in the belief that peaceful work opportunities will deter them from crime and violence. Rigorous evidence is rare. We experimentally evaluate a program of agricultural training, capital inputs, and counseling for Liberian ex-fighters who were illegally mining or occupying rubber plantations. 14 months after the program ended, men who accepted the program offer increased their farm employment and profits, and shifted work hours away from illicit activities. Men also reduced interest in mercenary work in a nearby war. Finally, some men did not receive their capital inputs but expected a future cash transfer instead, and they reduced illicit and mercenary activities most of all. The evidence suggests that illicit an...
May 2015Reducing Crime and Violence: Experimental Evidence on Adult Noncognitive Investments in Liberia
with Julian C. Jamison, Margaret Sheridan: w21204
We show self control and self image are malleable in adults, and that investments in them reduce crime and violence. We recruited criminally-engaged Liberian men and randomized half to eight weeks of group cognitive behavioral therapy, teaching self control skills and a noncriminal self-image. We also randomized $200 grants. Cash raised incomes and reduced crime in the short-run but effects dissipated within a year. Therapy increased self control and noncriminal values, and acts of crime and violence fell 20--50%. Therapy's impacts lasted at least a year when followed by cash, likely because cash reinforced behavioral changes via prolonged practice.
March 2009Civil War
with Edward Miguel: w14801
Most nations have experienced an internal armed conflict since 1960. The past decade has witnessed an explosion of research into the causes and consequences of civil wars, belatedly bringing the topic into the economics mainstream. This article critically reviews this interdisciplinary literature and charts productive paths forward. Formal theory has focused on a central puzzle: why do civil wars occur at all when, given the high costs of war, groups have every incentive to reach an agreement that avoids fighting? Explanations have focused on information asymmetries and the inability to sign binding contracts in the absence of the rule of law. Economic theory has made less progress, however, on the thornier (but equally important) problems of why armed groups form and cohere, and why indiv...

Published: Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March. citation courtesy of

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