The long-term effects of genocide on antisocial preferences

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We conduct an artefactual field experiment to examine the long-term effects of exposure to violence due to the Cambodian genocide (1975–1979), during childhood and adolescence, on individuals’ antisocial behaviors. Since antisocial behavior can co-exist with other preferences, we also investigate the effect of this exposure on prosocial and risk-taking behaviors. We find that as district-level mortality rates increase, individuals who directly experienced violence during the genocide period exhibit greater antisocial and risk-taking behaviors decades later. These effects are relatively muted among individuals who did not directly experience genocidal violence. The results imply significant long-term effects on antisocial and risk preferences in association with direct exposure to genocidal violence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106068
Number of pages15
JournalWorld Development
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Artefactual field experiment
  • Civil conflict
  • Khmer Rouge
  • Social preferences
  • Violence exposure

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