Theses Doctoral

Microdynamics of War-to-Peace Transitions: Evidence from Burundi

Samii, Cyrus

In these three essays, I study important facets of the transition to peace after Burundi's 1993-2005 civil war. The first essay studies the effects of quota-based ethnic integration within Burundi's army on expressions of prejudice and ethnic salience among soldiers. Exploiting a natural experiment within the army, I find that exposure to quota-based integration reduced prejudice and had no effect on ethnic salience, countering a prevailing view in the literature that quota-based integration is likely to exacerbate ethnic tensions. The second essay studies individuals' preferences over transitional justice alternatives. I find that support for punishment and truth-seeking is more tepid than the advocacy literature has suggested, that ethno-political motivations seem to dominate expressed preferences for punishment and truth-seeking, and, using a persuasion experiment, that simple forms of deliberation may actually polarize people. The third essay, co-authored with Michael Gilligan and Eric Mvukiyehe, examines the impact of Burundi's ex-combatant reintegration program on the economic and political reintegration of demobilized rebels. Exploiting another natural experiment, we find that the program provided substantial economic benefits, but that these economic benefits did not seem to contribute to political integration, at least in the short-run. The essays enrich our understanding of Burundi's difficult transition to peace. They also essays just how one may bring high scientific standards to study policies in the otherwise challenging context of post-conflict transitions.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Political Science
Thesis Advisors
Humphreys, Macartan N.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 15, 2011