Preferences and Civil War in Northern Uganda: Post-Traumatic Growth Reconsidered

Matthew Lowes, Jeffrey Carpenter, Peter Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


We exploit the largely exogenous character of abduction and displacement in northern Uganda during the recent civil war to estimate the effects of each on experimental measures of risk tolerance, altruism, trust and trustworthiness, as well as a survey measure of patience. Our analysis reveals the limitations of the ‘post-traumatic growth’ hypothesis. In most cases preferences are unaffected by these traumas and in the one domain in which we identify a significant effect, it is contrary to the hypothesis—people who were both abducted and displaced are 21 percentage points less likely to take a risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-453
JournalJournal of African Economies
Issue number5
Early online date27 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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