Journal of Economic Growth

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 285–318 | Cite as

Legacies of violence: trust and market development

  • Alessandra Cassar
  • Pauline GrosjeanEmail author
  • Sam Whitt


We study the effect of individual exposure to civil conflict on trust and preferences for market participation. We conducted behavioral experiments and surveys among 426 randomly selected individuals more than a decade after the end of the Tajik civil war. We find that exposure to violence undermines trust within localities, decreases the willingness to engage in impersonal exchange, and reinforces kinship-based norms of morality. The effect is strongest where infighting was most severe and where political polarization is high. Robustness of the results to the use of pre-war controls, village fixed effects, and alternative samples suggest that selection into victimization is unlikely to explain the results.


Civil war Trust game Market institutions Tajikistan 

JEL Classification

C93 D03 O53 P30 



The previous title of this paper was; “Civil War, Social Capital and Market Development; Experimental and Survey Evidence on the Negative Consequences of Violence”. We would like to thank Alexandra Ghosh, Lexi Russel and Azicha Tirandozov for outstanding assistance in carrying out the experimental work and data collection. We are grateful for their comments and suggestions to Eli Berman, Stefano Della Vigna, Dan Friedman, Oded Galor, Avner Greif, Phil Keefer, Craig McIntosh, Ted Miguel, Dominic Rohner, Mathias Thoenig, Leonard Wantchekon, Rick Wilson, Amanda Wooden, Bruce Wydick, Yves Zenou, Fabrizio Zilibotti, and three anonymous referees, as well as participants at Bay Area Experimentalists workshop, Central Asia Studies Society (CESS) Conference, International Society for New Institutional Economics (ISNIE), Monash University, NBER Income Distribution and Macroeconomics workshop, Northeast Universities Development Conference (NEUDC), Pacific Conference for Development Economics (PacDev), Stanford Institute for Theoretical Economics (Experimental Economics segment), University of Delaware Title VIII conference, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, and University of Zurich. We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the University of San Francisco and the United States Department of State’s Title VIII Program (administered by the University of Delaware).


The views expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Government. All errors and omissions remain our own.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandra Cassar
    • 1
  • Pauline Grosjean
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sam Whitt
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.School of EconomicsThe University of New South WalesKensingtonAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceHigh Point UniversityHigh PointUSA

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