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Violence and the Evolution of Social Norms

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Document pages: 30 pages

Abstract: To what extent can social norms recover from periods of intense inter-group violence? One school of thought posits long-term detrimental effects of violence in the form of entrenched parochialism, but other research shows how inter-group norms may quickly rebound and recover, even after extreme exposure to brutal war. Based on longitudinal survey and experimental evidence from post-war Bosnia, we find that while inter-group norms do recover from violence, there is also a persistent parochial divide between how in-groups are perceived and treated relative to out-groups. Our research suggests a mechanism at the individual-level for explaining hybrid pathways between rapid growth and recovery on one hand and a return to violence on the other.

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