Job Market Paper

The Power of Dialogue: Forced Displacement and Social Integration amid an Islamist Insurgency in Mozambique

R&R Journal of Development Economics (Special Issue on Migration and Development)

Funded by the International Growth Centre and J-PAL CVI.

World Bank Blog Post

Newspaper Expresso (in Portuguese)

Abstract: With global forced displacement at an unprecedented level, there is an increasing demand for low-cost interventions that can reduce tension between displaced persons and host communities. This study undertakes a novel field experiment designed to improve the social integration of internally displaced persons (IDPs) into host communities under conditions of scarce resources and low state capacity. The experiment was conducted in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique's northernmost province, where an Islamist insurgency has resulted in over one million IDPs. Hosts  and IDPs participated in joint community meetings in which they discussed topics related to the collective life of both groups, and IDPs also narrated their stories of escape from insurgents.  Analysis of survey data, list experiments, the Implicit Association Test, and lab-in-the-field games   shows  that the community meetings produced immediate and sustained positive effects on the relationship between hosts and IDPs. Religious tolerance also improved, and religious-extremist beliefs decreased, highlighting the potential of intergroup contact to support counterinsurgency efforts. As a novel insight, this study finds that even brief but structured    intergroup interactions can have a beneficial long-lasting impact on social cohesion. 

Policy impact: request from the Government of Mozambique (ADIN) and IGC to capacitate local officials in implementing this intervention (training workshop predicted for 2024).

Presentations outside Brown University: BSE Summer Forum on Migration (forthcoming), International Security and Development Center Seminar Series (virtual, 2024). UNU-WIDER Development Conference "The World at Crossroads" (Mozambique, 2024), Lisbon Migration Economics Workshop (2024), CSAE Oxford University Conference (2024), European Winter Meeting of the Econometric Society (2023), IMF Mozambique Seminar (virtual, 2023), Annual Workshop of the Households in Conflict Network (2023), Nova SBE seminar (2023), Wageningen University seminar (2023) World Bank DIME - KDI School 4th Development Impact Conference (2023), 16th AFD-World Bank Migration and Development Conference (2023), University of Warwick PhD Students Conference (2023), Nordic Conference in Development Economics (2023), 16th Annual Meeting of the Portuguese Economic Journal (2023),  CIREQ Montreal Conference (2023), UNU-WIDER Seminar Series (2023), IGC Mozambique Migration and Urbanization Conference (2022).

Work in Progress

The Legacy of Coercive Cotton Cultivation in Colonial Mozambique

With Patricia Justino, Rute Caeiro and Sam Jones.

Supported by UNU-WIDER and the UK Economic and Social Research Council

Most recent version

WIDER Working Paper version (not the latest version)

We examine the long-term impact of forced labor on individual risk preferences and economic decisions. For that, we focus on a policy of coercive cotton cultivation enforced in colonial Mozambique between 1926 and 1961. We combine archival information about the boundaries of historical cotton concessions with survey data collected specifically for this study. By employing a regression discontinuity design to compare individuals living in areas inside and outside the historical cotton concessions, we document significant disparities in risk aversion and agricultural patterns between communities. Our findings indicate that individuals from regions unsuitable for cotton production, yet subjected to the colonial cotton regime, exhibit higher risk aversion, are more likely to engage in farming, sell their agricultural produce, adopt technology, and save. These findings are predominantly driven by individuals who recall the coercive cotton cultivation in their communities, particularly women who bore the brunt of the colonial cotton regime. This paper underscores the enduring impact of colonial agricultural policies on risk and economic behavior, providing insights into the challenges post-colonial societies face in overcoming historical legacies.

Presentations outside Brown University: UNU-WIDER Development Conference "The World at Crossroads" (Mozambique, 2024), Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (Mozambique), Novafrica Conference (forthcoming, presented by Rute Caeiro).

The Missionary Roots of Distrust in Mozambique

With Pablo Fernandez-Cebrian, Patricia Justino and Rute Caeiro (draft available upon request).

We analyse the historical influence of Christian missions on civil society in Mozambique, focusing specifically on trust. To do so, we use a georeferenced dataset on the location of Catholic missions in colonial Mozambique, and geocoded individual respondent data from the Afrobarometer Survey. We show that historical proximity to Catholic missions is linked to reduced levels of generalized trust. Our results contribute to the understanding of trust and social cohesion in current-day Africa, engaging with the ample literature on the long-term effects and path dependencies created by colonial rule in the continent. This paper highlights the importance of taking into account the specific context of each former colony and the circumstances under which missions operated, as well as their specific characteristics, to understand their long-term effects on society.

Divide et Impera: Campaign Rallies and Voters' Preferences in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.

Last version October 2021.  [Paper available here]

This paper explores how campaign rallies affect voters' preferences over candidates and public policies. It uses data from the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election and shows that in this context rallies held by Hillary Clinton significantly improved voters' preferences for her. Rallies held by Donald Trump generated two opposing effects: a decrease in the preference for Trump in urban counties, driven by republican and democratic voters;  and a positive effect in suburban counties, driven by republican voters. Trump and Clinton rallies also shifted the policy preferences of suburban voters towards supporting more right and left wing policies, respectively. An event-study analysis shows the effects of Trump and Clinton rallies were short-lived.

Other ongoing research:

The Legacy of Conflict on Socioeconomic Dynamics and Human Behavior: Evidence from Portugal’s Veterans of War

Joint with João Pereira dos Santos, José Tavares and Luciano Amaral.

Funding awarded by the Portuguese Science Foundation (FCT).

Do Social Interactions Help Integrating Internally Displaced Persons? Evidence from Mozambique

Spin-off of my job market paper. project funded by the J-PAL Crime and Violence Initiative and the International Growth Centre.

Field experiment to be concluded by April 2024.

The Legacy of Colonial Resettlements in Mozambique: Evidence and Lessons from Aldeamentos

(draft written).

Rebuilding the Social-Capital of Return Migrants in Post-Conflict Mozambique

Field activities scheduled to begin in 2024, subject to security conditions in Cabo Delgado.

The Colonial Roots of Modern Conflict: The Case of Mozambique

(archival work completed).