positive outcomes for child soldiers

Chris Blattman highlights the after-effects of being a soldier (either child or adult); here is the gist:

In a recent paper I harness near-random variation in who was recruited and who was not to calculate the long term impact of armed conflict on youth.

The answer: former child and adult recruits are a fifth more likely to vote, are more than twice as likely to be community leaders, and are no more violent than their peers. The reason? Violence, it seems, activates and empowers youth as or more often than it defeats them.

Such findings are not limited to Uganda. John Bellows and Ted Miguel find that war deaths in the family lead to greater political interest and activity in Sierra Leone. Psychologists have also found that that exposure to war violence has led to increased political activism among Jewish Holocaust survivors and Palestinian victims of bombardment.

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