Training Ambassadors for Peace: Understanding the Causal Impact of an Intergroup Contact Intervention in Israel
Working Paper, co-authored w/ Cyrus Samii and Ruth Ditlmann
Abstract: We use a randomized controlled trial to study how an intervention combining inter-group contact, training, and sports might contribute to peace in the context of on-going violent conflict. Our analysis is motivated by classical theories of intergroup contact, recent theories of peer regulation, and consideration of how effects may vary by group status differences. The context is contemporary Israel, and the intervention participants are Arab-Palestinian and Jewish youth. We fuse the experimental data with observational data on program participants to track possible effects on longer term developmental trajectories. The intervention has no substantial short term effect on outgroup regard although we estimate longer term benefit among Jewish youth. For Jewish youth, but not Arab youth, the intervention has a positive effect on ingroup regulation indicators, and these effects grow over time. We discuss implications for micro-level peace and contact interventions in contexts of active conflict and group status asymmetry.