Jobs & violence: evidence from a policy experiment in DR Congo

Nik Stoop and Marijke Verpoorten

We investigate the impact of a sudden surge in labor demand on violent events in North-Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The labor demand stems from the construction of three hydropower plants, which generated over 50,000 22-day labor contracts for local youth residing near the construction sites. Our findings reveal that the program had a significant impact in reducing crime and violence, and this up to two years after the project's completion. The construction works tempered especially violence committed by groups with foreign origins. While violence of local groups against civilians also decreased, we find a (short-lived) surge in violence between local groups and the military. We explain how these patterns can be understood with a combination of channels.