Reconciliation, Development, and Institutional Change
Can post-conflict reconciliation generate social cohesion and economic development within societies emerging out of civil war? Researchers conduct a randomized controlled trial of a community-based reconciliation intervention in Sierra Leone, which facilitates truth-telling to help resolve past war-time grievances, and forges institutions designed to improve conflict resolution and build social capital. Preliminary results based on a quarter of the study sample (80 villages) points to potential positive impacts on forgiveness, community participation and public goods provisions, while indicating negative effects on psychological well-being. In addition, researchers observe greater reliance on traditional authorities for dispute resolution, which holds direct implications for local governance. In the next steps, the study will evaluate the remaining 240 villages and carry out a second round survey of the completed sample to gauge longer-term impacts.