Essays on Violent Conflict and Informal Institutions
Author: Muhsin Ali

The first essay seeks to investigate the institutional legacy of violent conflict in terms of trust, participation, and cooperation that took place in the district Swat of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Pakistan. To study the causal impact, district Buner – the neighboring district is identified as a control group. The study collects institutional information from 400 households in the two districts and applies the Ordinary Least Square (OLS) and Spatial Regression Discontinuity Design (SRDD) estimation techniques. The OLS results about trust suggest that exposure to violence adversely affects out-group trust and trust on government organizations, however, positively causes the within-group trust and trust on non-government organizations. Similarly, violence stimulates participation in social organizations, participation in political activities, and participation in non-government organizations, yet, impedes participation in formal government structure. Finally, the occurrence of violence enhances within-group cooperation, collective solution to problems, and cooperation with non-government organizations, yet, lowers cooperation with government organizations. Furthermore, supporting the OLS findings, the SRDD estimates report the heterogeneous impact of violent shock, i.e., the intensity of shock varies across location of the individuals. Alternatively, the individuals in highly exposed area exhibit comparatively high changes in trust, participation, and cooperation as compare to moderately and least affected individuals in the district. The second essay inquires the shift in religious preferences to the violent conflict. The study considers various dimensions of religious preferences, such as basic rituals, religious humanistic values, and various forms of religious trust, participation and cooperation. Like the first essay, this study uses the same control region, data collection procedure and econometric methodologies. The OLS results propose that exposure to violence strengthens fundamental rituals and religious humanistic values. However, such exposure lowers the trust on religious seminaries, religious figures and religious organizations, yet, raises trust on welfare religious organizations. Similarly, the exposure to violence adversely causes the participation in religious ceremonies and religious organizations, however, encourages participation in welfare religious organizations. Finally, the occurrence of violent shock retards cooperation with ix religious organizations, nonetheless, encourages cooperation with welfare religious organizations. Additionally, the SRDD estimates support the OLS findings, yet, predict that heterogeneous impact of violent shock exists, i.e., individuals in highly exposed areas exhibit comparatively high changes in religious preferences as compared to moderately and least affected individuals in the district. The third essay investigates the impact of violent shock on the structure of informal justice system. This study follows the earlier essays approach. The OLS findings suggest that the occurrence of violent shock strengthens the structure of informal justice system. Where, the mechanism for this change is observed a fall in the level of trust on ordered institutions. Additionally, the SRDD estimates confirm that the intensity of change in the structure of informal justice institutions varies across the location of the individuals. Alternatively, the informal justice institution relatively more strengthens in the regions that remain highly exposed to the conflict as compared to the moderately as well as least affected areas. Supervisor:- Dr. Karim Khan Co–Supervisor:- Dr. Faiz Ur Rehman

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Supervisor: Karim Khan

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