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Ethnicity and Altruism after Violence: The Contact Hypothesis in Kosovo


An enduring question for the social sciences is whether increasing contact and exposure between in-groups and out-groups enhances prospects for social tolerance and cooperation. Using dictator experiments with ethnic Serbs in post-war Kosovo, our research explores how norms of altruism are impacted by proximity to former rivals. In the aftermath of violence, proximity appears to amplify solidarity with the in-group but also increases empathy toward former adversaries. Based on a March 2011 study of 158 ethnic Serbs from regions across Kosovo with varying degrees of contact and separation from ethnic Albanians, we find that both out-group bridging and in-group bonding norms increase with exposure to the out-group. The inclusion of extended controls and matching for displacement by violence and other forms of victimization helps alleviate concerns about sorting and selection driving our results.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Mironova, Vera and Sam Whitt. 2014. "Ethnicity and Altruism after Violence: The Contact Hypothesis in Kosovo." Journal of Experimental Political Science 1 (October): 170-180. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2481653

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