NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Violence and the Formation of Hopelessness and Pessimistic Prospects of Upward Mobility in Colombia

Andrés Moya, Michael Carter

NBER Working Paper No. 20463
Issued in September 2014
NBER Program(s):   DEV

Violence has severe material and psychological consequences. In this article we explore if it also induces hopelessness and pessimistic prospects of upward mobility. For this purpose, we bring together novel data from a sample of individuals residing in violence-torn regions in Colombia, including some who were directly victimized and displaced during last ten years. We find that victims who suffered more severe episodes of violence are hopeless and perceive overly pessimistic prospects of upward mobility. These results suggest that shocks and traumatic experiences can shatter hopes and beliefs through psychological constraints and hinder the ability of people to recover in a pervasive way.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20463

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