Sam Whitt

Sam Whitt
High Point University · Department of Political Science and International Relations

About

37
Publications
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566
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Publications

Publications (37)
Article
How does conflict affect prosocial and parochial preferences within a society? Our research considers the case of recent violence in Donbas, Ukraine where ethnic Russian separatists are battling the Ukrainian military. To evaluate social preferences, we utilize a non-costly dictator game with ethnic treatments among young ethnic Ukrainian male comb...
Preprint
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Power-sharing is a widely recognized strategy for reaching durable settlements to civil wars with center-periphery and identity-based cleavages. However, in practice, power-sharing arrangements are often violated when one side exploits windows of opportunity for power-grabs. We examine public support for power-sharing versus power-grabbing in the c...
Article
Our research considers the relationship between historical memory and political evaluations of the past and present. We first examine how historical reflection on the Soviet Union under Stalin is influenced by memories of familial suffering during World War II and victimization under the widespread Soviet gulag prison system. Based on a 2019 repres...
Article
Altruism among humans is common. It is especially prominent among in-group members. However, we are struck by results from laboratory-in-the-field experiments with out-group members of different ethnic or religious backgrounds. In all instances, the groups were rivals in civil wars. While we find almost no altruistic behavior among groups that were...
Article
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This study considers how ethnic trust and minority status can impact the ability of ethnic groups to pursue cooperative public goods, focusing on groups with a history of conflict and lingering hostility. A public good experiment between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in postwar Kosovo reveals that subjects contribute far more to a mutually beneficial...
Article
What drives public support for retributive violence against insurgents, a desire for revenge or security? We consider the case of suspected Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Mosul Iraq. Using survey experiments, we inquire about public support for judicial as well as extrajudicial violence against insurgent combatants. We sample among ordinary civi...
Article
How do mass publics react to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) advocacy efforts in socially conservative societies? We consider how the first-ever LGBT+ Pride in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina influences ordinary citizens’ attitudes and behavior regarding LGBT+ support. Using nationwide and local panel surveys, we find that support...
Article
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Our research speaks to the ongoing debate over the extent and severity of partisan political divisions in American society. We employ behavioral experiments to probe for affective polarization using dictator, trust, and public goods games with party identification treatments. We find that subjects who identify politically with the Democratic or Rep...
Chapter
Recent experimental research shows that conflict can have heterogeneous effects on social preferences, but mechanisms are poorly understood and beg for further clarification. We investigate the enduring effects of conflict on individual behavioral norms in agricultural producer groups in Tajikistan using a dictator game experiment with varying soci...
Article
Full-text available
Existing research suggests that international peacekeeping contributes to conflict resolution and helps sustain peace, often in locations with hostile ethnic divisions. However, it is unclear whether the presence of peacekeepers actually reduces underlying ethnocentric views and parochial behaviors that sustain those divisions. We examine the effec...
Article
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Why might former rebel combatants ever revert to fighting? The purpose of this research note is to inform the scholarly community on rebel incentives to remobilize for violence, a topic which has been underexplored in the literature, using evidence from an ongoing conflict: the case of volunteer ex-combatants in the Syrian civil war. In late 2014 t...
Article
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When war breaks out, how important are risk preferences to explaining why some individuals stay in conflict zones while others take flight? We examine risk tolerance among rebel combatants and civilians in Aleppo, Syria using a variation of the Eckel-Grossman Choice Game. Field work in Syria was conducted in 2013–14 with a total of 232 participants...
Article
Existing research on conflict-related sexual violence focuses on the motivations of perpetrators and effects on survivors. What remains less clear is how postconflict societies respond to the hardships survivors face. In survey experiments in Bosnia, we examine public support for financial aid, legal aid, and public recognition for survivors. First...
Article
We consider whether prior political activism increases the likelihood of engaging in higher-risk forms of violent collective action. We test our hypothesis in the context of the 2014 Euromaidan and subsequent separatist violence in Eastern Ukraine. In the aftermath of the Euromaidan protests, the Ukrainian government began a widespread campaign to...
Article
What sustains commitment to rebel fighting during civil war? Using original survey data from the ongoing conflict in Syria, we examine whether self-ascribed rebel fighters, former fighters, civilians, and refugees can be clearly differentiated based on commitment to rebellion. We ask whether such groups are better characterized as a broadly holisti...
Article
To what extent can prosocial norms (re-)emerge among rival groups following intense intergroup conflict? One school of thought posits that violence can strengthen intragroup bonding norms, entrenching parochialism and sustaining in-group biases. However, recent studies suggest that intergroup bridging norms can also improve once conflict ends. Our...
Article
Full-text available
An emerging literature points to the heterogeneous effects of violence on social norms and preferences in conflict-ridden societies. This article considers how responses to violence could be affected by in-group/out-group divisions. The research uses lab-in-the-field experiments to gauge norms for pro-social behavior in the aftermath of ethnic viol...
Article
Full-text available
To what extent can international peacekeeping promote micro-foundations for positive peace after violence? Drawing on macro-level peacekeeping theory, our approach uses novel experimental methods to illustrate how monitoring and enforcement by a neutral third party could conceivably enhance prosocial behavior between rival groups in a tense, postco...
Article
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...
Article
An emerging literature points to heterogeneous effects of violence on social norms and preferences in conflict-ridden societies with implications for economic development and state-building. We consider how effects of conflict exposure and victimization could be impacted by observable and unobservable in-group/out-group divisions. Our research uses...
Article
To what extent can social norms recover from periods of intense inter-group violence? One school of thought posits long-term detrimental effects of violence in the form of entrenched parochialism, but other research shows how inter-group norms may quickly rebound and recover, even after extreme exposure to brutal war. Based on longitudinal survey a...
Article
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...
Article
Full-text available
We study the effect of individual exposure to civil conflict on trust and preferences for market participation. We conducted behavioral experiments and surveys among 426 randomly selected individuals more than a decade after the end of the Tajik civil war. We find that exposure to violence undermines trust within localities, decreases the willingne...
Article
We consider the impact of international peacekeeping forces on prospects for positive peace after violence. Our approach uses novel experimental methods to assess whether third-party monitoring and enforcement mechanisms enhance intergroup trust and deter the rise of would-be spoilers. Our results show that while intervention can have short-term po...
Article
This study considers prospects for the revitalization of social norms after ethnic violence using a behavioral experiment in postwar Bosnia. In the experiment, subjects are asked to distribute a ten-unit monetary sum between two anonymous recipients of random ethnicity. The results indicate a surprisingly high number of egalitarian distributions ac...
Article
Recent studies have reported surprising increases in pro-social behavior following exposure to conflict. However, our research provides cautionary evidence of some important detrimental effects of conflict hidden within an overall trend toward increasing certain pro-social preferences. We draw our inferences from experimental and survey evidence we...
Article
Our research provides experimental and survey evidence on the pro-social behavior (trust, reciprocity, a sense of fairness) and preferences for anonymous market transactions of former combatants. Our results, from a random sample in post-war Tajikistan, show that trust, reciprocity, generosity (dictator giving) are lowest among those respondents re...
Article
Recent studies have reported surprising increases in pro-social behavior following exposure to conflict. However, our research provides cautionary evidence of some important detrimental effects of conflict hidden within an overall trend toward increasing certain pro-social preferences. We draw our inferences from experimental and survey evidence we...
Article
This study considers prospects for the revitalization of social norms after ethnic conflict in the case of post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina. Between September 2003 and January 2004, a total of 681 subjects took part in a survey and a series of behavioral decision-making experiments across Bosnia. Using variations on the classic dictator game, the study...
Article
This study considers the prospects for rebuilding trust in a multi-ethnic society with a history of ethnic violence. Findings are based on survey data from a stratified random sample of 681 Bosnian Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks, conducted between September 2003 and January 2004. The data indicate significant trust problems in Bosnian society both with...
Article
Crises and disasters, whether natural or man-made, are defined by conditions of uncertainty, disorder, and stress. In this research, we explore the extent to which individuals who were evacuated from New Orleans to Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina cooperated with one another in a public goods game. The study focuses on predominantly Af...
Article
This study considers the effects of ethnic violence on norms of fairness. Once violence is a foregone conclusion, will cooperative norms ever (re-)emerge beyond ethnic boundaries? We use an experiment that measures how fairly individuals in a postconflict setting treat their own ingroup in comparison to the outgroups - in this case, examining the b...
Article
This study uses an adaptation of the classic dictator game from the field of behavioral economics to tap into social norms across ethnicity in postwar Bosnia. Between September 2003 and January 2004 a total of 681 Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Serbs took part in several field experiments from regions across Bosnia. The experiments were designed to m...
Article
This study considers the effects of ethnic violence on norms of fairness. Once violence is a foregone conclusion, will cooperative norms ever (re-)emerge beyond ethnic boundaries? We use an experiment that measures how fairly individuals in a post-conflict setting treat their own in-group in comparison to the out-groups - in this case, examining th...