Skip to Main Navigation

Employment and Violence in Fragile States

January 30, 2018

Washington, DC and Online


  • Employment generation is a top priority for growth, development, and social stability in fragile states. When employment prospects are dim, creating jobs may lower the risk of violence by helping redress community grievances and raising the opportunity cost of joining rebellions or criminal organizations. The development community has spent billions of dollars on employment creation programs in fragile states, typically conceived as short-term, emergency operations. The design of these programs leans heavily on the theory that individuals—especially at-risk youth—will respond positively to the rising opportunity costs represented by a decent job.

    Despite all the resources invested in these programs, however, evidence that these programs achieve their stated intentions is weak. In this Policy Research Talk, Eric will discuss the findings from rigorous studies on the link between popular employment programs, such as public works and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programs, and social stability at the micro-level. Two key results stand out. First, these emergency programs seem to have positive effects on economic welfare outcomes in the short-term, but they do not persist in the long term. Second, and more surprisingly, these emergency programs show no evidence of an impact on a wide range of outcome measures related to violence and social stability at the micro-level.

    Eric will also discuss the policy implications of this emerging body of evidence, covering issues such as better program design and targeting, alternative and innovative crime-reducing interventions (e.g., psycho-social programs) that can complement employment programs, and improvement in measurement of crime and violence-related outcomes.

  • Image

    Eric Mvukiyehe


    Eric Mvukiyehe is an Economist on the Development Impact Evaluation unit in the World Bank's Development Research Group, where he coordinates impact evaluations in the area of Fragility, and Conflict and Violence. His research focuses on evaluations of donors-supported programs in fragile countries, particularly in the areas of peace building and public sector reforms; democratization at the grassroots level; employment programs for vulnerable groups such as youth at risk and former combatants; and women empowerment, among others.


    Asli Demirgüç-Kunt

    Director of Research

    Asli Demirgüç-Kunt is the Director of Research in the World Bank. After joining the Bank in 1989 as a Young Economist, she has held different positions, including Director of Development Policy, Chief Economist of Financial and Private Sector Development Network, and Senior Research Manager, doing research and advising on financial sector and private sector development issues.

    David Robalino

    Manager, Jobs & Development Global Practice

    David Robalino, an Ecuadorian National, joined the Bank in 1999 as a Young Professional. David has been working on issues related to labor markets, skills, social insurance and fiscal policy and has published widely on these topics.

  • The Policy Research Talks showcase the latest findings of the research department and their implications for World Bank operations. The monthly event facilitates a dialogue between researchers and operational staff so that we can challenge and contribute to the World Bank's intellectual climate and re-examine conventional wisdom in current development theories and practices. Read More »


  • Time: 10:00 - 11:30 AM
  • Location: MC 13-121, World Bank Main Complex