Can Social Contact Reduce Economic Conflict between Farmers and Herders? Evidence from Nigeria
In this study, we will investigate whether “contact” can help resolve the endemic farmer-herder conflicts in Nigeria. The Contact Hypothesis postulates that contact between groups can resolve conflicts, yet there is little causal evidence or understanding of mechanisms. Our study will provide the first field experimental micro evidence on whether, and how, contact influences conflict. We will conduct a RCT that convenes inter-dialogues with farmers and herders in 189 communities. Our analysis will test whether contact can reduce conflict even when the underlying conflict is economic in nature. In addition, we will provide the first evidence on potential mechanisms. Specifically, we will examine whether contact reduces conflict through more traditional economic channels of information revelation and commitment, or whether behavioral channels such as implicit bias and the creation of new social links serve as the key mechanisms.