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Reducing crime and violence: Experimental evidence from cognitive behavioral therapy in Liberia

Christopher Blattman (), Julian C. Jamison and Margaret Sheridan

No 21204, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: We show that a number of “noncognitive” skills and preferences, including patience and identity, are malleable in adults, and that investments in them reduce crime and violence. We recruited criminally-engaged men and randomized half to eight weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy designed to foster self-regulation, patience, and a noncriminal identity and lifestyle. We also randomized $200 grants. Cash alone and therapy alone initially reduced crime and violence, but effects dissipated over time. When cash followed therapy, crime and violence decreased dramatically for at least a year. We hypothesize that cash reinforced therapy’s impacts by prolonging learning-by-doing, lifestyle changes, and self-investment.

JEL-codes: D03 J22 K42 O12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-exp, nep-law, nep-lma and nep-neu
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Published as Christopher Blattman & Julian C. Jamison & Margaret Sheridan, 2017. "Reducing Crime and Violence: Experimental Evidence from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Liberia," American Economic Review, vol 107(4), pages 1165-1206.

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Working Paper: Reducing crime and violence: Experimental evidence from cognitive behavioral therapy in Liberia (2016) Downloads
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