Relative Poverty, Perceived Violence, and Support for Militant Politics: Evidence from Pakistan

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Authors C. Christine Fair, Rebecca Littman, Neil Rainer Malhotra, Jacob N. Shapiro
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Challenging conventional wisdom, previous research in South Asia and the Middle East has shown that poverty and exposure to violence are often negatively correlated with support for militant organizations. Existing studies, however, cannot distinguish between two mechanisms underlying these relationships: (1) the direct eects of poverty and violence on attitudes toward militant groups; and (2) the psychological eects of perceptions of poverty and violence on attitudes. Disentangling these mechanisms is important not only for theory building but also for designing policy interventions to reduce public support for political violence. To address this issue, we conducted a series of original, large-scale survey experiments in Pakistan (n = 16,279) in which we randomly manipulated perceptions of both poverty and violence before measuring support for militant organizations. We nd evidence that psychological perceptions do in part explain why the poor seem to be less supportive of militant political groups.
Date of publication 2018
Code Programming Language R

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