Crime, Violence, & Conflict

Research by J-PAL affiliates in the Crime, Violence, & Conflict sector seeks to expand the narrow base of rigorous evidence on the best ways to prevent, reduce, and manage crime, violence and 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

Sule Alan talks to children in a classroom in Turkey.
Policy Publication

Understanding Each Other: Improving Inter-Ethnic Cohesion in Schools in Turkey

An interactive classroom program encouraging students to consider one another’s perspectives in Turkey lowered peer violence, improved relationships between refugee and Turkish students, and increased prosocial behaviors like trust, cooperation, and altruism.

Indian police officers
News

Governance, Crime, and Conflict Initiative Evidence Review

What are the most promising strategies for reducing crime, violence, and conflict? The past decade has seen a dramatic expansion in the experimental literature designed to help answer this question. Moving beyond evaluations of individual programs, these studies seek to advance our understanding...

Two men sitting down listening to a facilitator of the UBL program
Blog

Preventing intimate partner violence by engaging men: Evidence from Unite for Better Life in Ethiopia

A growing body of evidence suggests that gender inequality, especially social norms that endorse violence against women, is one of the main drivers of IPV. What programs can effectively build more gender equitable attitudes and behaviors, and do these behaviors translate into reductions in violence...

A world map with dots noting locations of GCCI projects.
Blog

Pushing the boundaries of governance, crime, and conflict research: Innovations in research, measurement, and design

In 2017, J-PAL and IPA jointly launched the Governance, Crime, and Conflict Initiative to increase our understanding of effective policies to promote peace and good governance, reduce crime, and support individuals and communities recovering from conflict. With three years of research behind us, we...

Evaluation

The Impact of Employment on High-Risk Men in Liberia

In Liberia, researchers tested the effect of an intensive agricultural training program that also provided agricultural supplies and psychosocial counseling on employment activities, income, and socio-political integration. Fourteen months after the program, participants spent more time working in...

Young men participate in an activity for the Becoming a Man program in Chicago. Photo: Rob Kozloff | University of Chicago
Policy Insight

Reducing criminal behavior through cognitive behavioral therapy

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.

woman sitting at table and opening pink folder
News

Mayor de Blasio, Bring Back Summer Jobs

J-PAL affiliates Sara Heller and Judd Kessler critique the decision to cancel New York's summer youth employment program this year, drawing on their research findings about the positive impacts of such programs. 

soccer players posing for a group picture
Evaluation

Inter-religious Soccer Leagues to Promote Social Cohesion in Post-ISIS Iraq

Researchers evaluated the impact of mixed Christian-Muslim soccer teams on social cohesion and interactions between these groups in an ISIS-affected area of Iraq. Christians who played on mixed teams demonstrated a higher likelihood of engaging with Muslim teammates after the league ended, but the...

Sector Chairs

Co-Chair, Crime, Violence, & Conflict

Ramalee E. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies

University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy

Co-Chair, Crime, Violence, & Conflict

Philip K. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies

University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy

Sector Contacts

Headshot of Aimee Barnes

Policy Associate , J-PAL Global

Headshot of Aprille Knox

Policy Manager, J-PAL Global

Senior Policy Associate, J-PAL Global