Peace and goodwill?: using an experimental game to analyse Paz y Desarrollo


Several decades of conflict, rebellion and unrest severely weakened civil society in parts of Colombia. Paz y Desarrollo is the umbrella term used to describe the set of locally-led initiatives that aim at addressing this problem through initiatives to promote sustainable economic development and community cohesion and action.

This project analyses the findings from a series of \"public goods\" games that were conducted in the spring and winter of 2006 in 103 municipalities in rural and urban Colombia with predominantly poor participants. These municipalities included both those with and without Paz y Desarrollo in place, and within those municipalities where it was (\"treatment\" municipalities), both individuals who are participants in the programme and those who are not. The municipalities where PYD is not in place (\"control\" municipalities) were surveyed as part of the evaluation of another programme - Familias en Accion (FEA), and this project also analyses the impact of this programme on game-play. The game is structured as a typical free-rider problem with the act of contributing to the \"public good\" (a collective money pot) being always dominated by non-contribution. We interpret contribution as an act consistent with a high degree of social capital.

We find weak evidence that the programme acts at the group level: game sessions involving programme participants have higher levels of contribution than those not involving participants. In addition, there is some evidence that intensity of the programme matters: the more participants, the larger the impact. However, there is no evidence that the programme impacts at the individual level with participants no more likely to contribute than non-participants in treatment areas.


Institute for Fiscal Studies. EDePo Working Paper, EWP08/03, 29 pp.

Peace and goodwill?: using an experimental game to analyse Paz y Desarrollo

Published 1 January 2008