Crime, Violence, & Conflict
Crime and violence can hinder economic development and urban growth, and exacerbate governance challenges by fostering corruption and draining public sector resources. Poorly designed efforts to prevent or reduce crime and violence can also impose substantial social and economic costs on communities.
Key questions include the motivations behind criminal and violent behavior, ways of better understanding how social and political violence are organized, and evaluating the impact of policy responses designed to deter crime and violence or alleviate their negative effects. J-PAL affiliates’ research explores critical questions in this field, including how to cost-effectively improve police performance and perception, help at-risk youth reduce criminal and violent behavior, and reconcile communities in post-conflict fragile states.
In addition to supporting policymakers in applying evidence from randomized evaluations to their work, sector chairs and staff write policy insights that synthesize general lessons emerging from the research, condense results from evaluations in policy publications and evaluation summaries, and fund new research through the Crime and Violence Initiative.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can reduce criminal behavior among both at-risk youth and criminally engaged men, likely by helping them focus more on the future, change their self-perceptions, and/or slow their decision-making.
In the news
Oeindrila Dube is the Philip K. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies at the University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy. She studies poverty and conflict in the developing world.
Recent studies have found that summer youth employment programs appear to generate large declines in the rates of violent crime—a significant finding for urban policymakers seeking to create safer, more vibrant cities.