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Ethnic Riots and Prosocial Behavior: Evidence from Kyrgyzstan

  • ANSELM HAGER (a1), KRZYSZTOF KRAKOWSKI (a2) and MAX SCHAUB (a3)

Abstract

Do ethnic riots affect prosocial behavior? A common view among scholars of ethnic violence is that riots increase cooperation within the warring groups, while cooperation across groups is reduced. We revisit this hypothesis by studying the aftermath of the 2010 Osh riot in Kyrgyzstan, which saw Kyrgyz from outside the city kill over 400 Uzbeks. We implement a representative survey, which includes unobtrusive experimental measures of prosocial behavior. Our causal identification strategy exploits variation in the distance of neighborhoods to armored military vehicles, which were instrumental in orchestrating the riot. We find that victimized neighborhoods show substantially lower levels of prosocial behavior. Importantly, we demonstrate that the reduction is similarly stark both within and across groups. Using qualitative interviews, we parse out two mechanisms that help explain the surprising reduction in ingroup prosociality: Victimized Uzbeks felt abandoned by their coethnics, and variation in victimization created a feeling of suspicion.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Anselm Hager, Assistant Professor of Political Economy, Graduate School of Decision Sciences, University of Konstanz, anselm.hager@gmail.com.
Krzysztof Krakowski, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Collegio Carlo Alberto, krzysztof.krakowski@carloalberto.org.
Max Schaub, Research Fellow, WZB Berlin Social Science Center, max.schaub@wzb.eu.

Footnotes

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The authors are grateful for feedback from Delia Baldassari, Paul Bauer, Bernd Beber, Fabrizio Bernardi, Tilman Brück, Alicia Cooperman, Elias Dinas, James Fearon, Diego Gambetta, Edoardo Grillo, Guy Grossman, Hanno Hilbig, Macartan Humphreys, Joldon Kutmanaliev, Horacio Larreguy, David Laitin, Egor Lazarev, Leonid Peisakhin, Alex Scacco, Jesko Schmoller, Tara Slough, and Jason Wittenberg. The research was supported by grants from the WZB Social Science Center Berlin, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, and the European University Institute. Zhamila Zhalieva, Salima Abdumomun, Jeyhun Alizade, and Thomas Tichelbäcker provided superb research assistance. The authors would also like to thank Damir Esenaliev, Nathan Hamm, David Laitin, Kanayim Teshebaeva, and Ruslan Umaraliev for generously sharing their data. The study was pre-registered at EGAP (ID: 20170926AA). Authors are listed in alphabetical order. Replication files are available at the American Political Science Review Dataverse: https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/WVBZNE.

Footnotes

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