Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Lelys Dinarte ─ Peer Effects on Violence: Experimental Evidence in El Salvador

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

McKinney Conference Room, 111 Thayer Street

This paper provides experimental evidence of the role of having different levels of violent peers in the context of an after-school program. By randomly assigning students to participate in the intervention with a set of similar or diverse peers in terms of violence, I measure effects of tracking on students' behavioral, neurophysiological, and academic outcomes. Participants were between 10-16 years old and enrolled in public schools in El Salvador. Results indicate that integrating students with different propensities for violence is better than segregating them, for both highly and less violent children. Particularly, the intervention can have unintended effects on misbehavior and stress if highly violent students are segregated and treated separately from their less violent peers.

Lelys Dinarte is an Economist in the Human Development Team of the World Bank's Development Research Group. Her research interests are on education, with a focus on violence and crime. In her projects, she examines how some educational interventions can modify at-risk youth performance, including socio-emotional skills and violent behavior. Additionally, some of her projects analyze the interaction between crime and welfare, noting how illegal organizations usually harm countries’ economic growth path. She has built original datasets from the ground up, by combining datasets from administrative and geographic records, with primary data. She obtained her PhD and Master in Economics from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in 2018 and her B.A. in Economics from ESEN in El Salvador in 2010.

Development Seminar