How indiscriminate violence fuels religious conﬂict: Evidence from Kenya
Constantin Ruhe and
No kngq2, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science
Armed conﬂicts frequently fuel tensions between groups. The underlying mechanisms remain understudied. The “cognitive perspective” of group identiﬁcation oﬀers a possible explanation, but is tacit on exact causal pathways. We predict that indiscriminate violence by armed actors induces fear of future attacks which in turn leads to prejudice, enhanced in-group cohesion, and calls for segregation. Selective violence that yields a lower probability of aﬀecting bystanders does not contribute to fear and thereby does not foster prejudice, segregation, and cohesion. To test our predictions, we rely on large-scale, reimbursed, electronic panel surveys conducted in Nairobi and Mombasa during the violent Kenyan elections in the Summer of 2017. Relying on the same 2,109 respondents, we conducted interviews before, during, and after violence erupted. We ﬁnd evidence for the predicted eﬀects among Christians while accounting for individual and survey wave ﬁxed eﬀects and in an additional endorsement experiment.
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