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What makes individuals join armed organizations?

Work & Education Democratic Republic of the Congo

In developing countries, organized crime and armed groups often permeate society. Such groups face the necessity of recruiting and managing reliable violent labor in order to sustain their operations. Knowing that they will take unusually high life-threatening risks including murdering other people, why do new recruits decide to join? This project seeks to answer this question by utilizing a previously built relationship with a large-scale armed organization. Researchers examine how different motives cause individuals to develop within the organization, illustrating the effects of moral sentiments such as injustice and parochial revenge on recruitment and violent labor management. Preliminary findings show that emotions, beliefs created and transmitted through networks, peer pressure, and the role of local political institutions are core drivers for young men to join these organizations. Full results forthcoming.

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