Youth Employability and Peacebuilding in Post-conflict Côte d’Ivoire: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial

This paper investigates the impact of alternative economic opportunities for the youth in consolidating positive peace. Using data from randomized control trial from a cash-for-work program for unskilled youngsters, with no opportunities in the labor market, we capture the causal effect of employment on social cohesion and trust in institutions in post-conflict Côte d’Ivoire. We estimate the short term and midterm impacts of the program from a sample of 4,160 youngsters randomly drawn including 3,125 beneficiaries and 1,035 in the control group in 16 municipalities nationwide. We also include in the analysis the prediction of youth behavior in favor of peace conditional to their participation in the program by running a LASSO model. In the short term, participation in the program decreases the odds to trust out-community youth by 29% and the odds to trust colleagues by 16%. In the long term, having a paid-job significantly increases the likelihood to attend community meeting by 20%, trust in family members by 17% and trust in colleagues by 25%. Further, participation in the program is found to significantly predict behavior to peace. Lastly, while training in entrepreneurship negatively predict social cohesion, training in paid-job positively predict attitude to peace.

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