We study the effects of a nongovernmental civic inclusion campaign on the democratic integration of demobilized insurgents. Democratic participation ideally offers insurgents a peaceful channel for political expression and addressing grievances. However, existing work suggests that former combatant’s ideological socialization and experiences of violence fuel hard-line commitments that may be contrary to democratic political engagement, threatening the effectiveness of postwar electoral transitions. We use a field experiment with demobilized FARC combatants in Colombia to study how a civic inclusion campaign affects trust in political institutions, democratic political participation, and preferences for strategic moderation versus ideological rigidity. We find the campaign increased trust in democracy and support for political compromise. Effects are driven by the most educated ex-combatants moving from more hard-line positions to ones that are in line with their peers and by ex-combatants who had the most violent conflict experience similarly moderating their views.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science