A failure of social reintegration may contribute to what is known as a conflict trap. To detect lingering hostile attitudes among a community’s various factions is crucial, but the approaches adopted in previous studies tend to focus on the impact of conflict on one or other aggregated indicator of social cohesion rather than on how violence-affected individuals regard and act towards their fellow community members.
The authors demonstrate the value of concentrating on this latter dyadic component of social interactions and use behavioural experiments and a social tie survey to assess, in an appropriately disaggregated manner, social cohesion in a post-conflict setting in northern Uganda.
Whereas in self-reported surveys, ex-combatants appear to be well-connected, active members of their communities, the experiments unveil the continued reluctance of other community members to share or cooperate with them; fewer resources are committed to ex-combatants than to others, which is statistically significant. The dyadic nature of our analysis allows us to detect which groups are more prone to discriminate against ex-combatants, which may help facilitate targeted interventions.