Impact of forced displacement on the development of social preferences and trust in children in the Sahel region
The world is currently facing and will need to deal with an alarming number of forced displacements of populations, resulting from religious, political, ethnic conflicts, or climate change. Forced displacements, especially when caused by violence between groups, may seriously disrupt the cognitive and emotional development of children by creating an unpredictable environment leading to dramatic long-term consequences for societies’ ability to maintain or restore trust and democracy. Childhood is the period of life when the roots of prosociality and trust are built under the influence of education, culture, and social interactions. Understanding how and to what extent exposure to forced internal displacement during childhood and adolescence alters or calibrates these processes is crucial to provide evidence-based guidance for policy interventions. The FORDIS project examines the development of social preferences, trust, and social norms in children exposed to forced displacement due to intergroup conflicts in Burkina Faso. It will evaluate fairness, trust, trustworthiness, and cooperation, and the perception of gender social norms (specifically, genital mutilations and forced child marriage). We will conduct in Burkina Faso behavioral experiments and a Randomized Controlled Trial experiment with children, young adolescents and parents who have or not been displaced due to terrorist attacks. We include parents to understand social preferences and social norms, as parents play a fundamental role in transmitting them to children. This project is crucial to contribute to our understanding of the development of social preferences and how they can be affected by forced displacement and the associated uncertainty. It will be used to inform policy interventions to foster prosocial motivations, trust, and social norms that discourage violence, promote cooperation.