Chris Blattman is a professor in the Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts at the University of Chicago. His 20 years of researching war has taken him from a war in northern Uganda, to violent mining camps and urban slums in postwar Liberia, to meet leaders of drug cartels in Medellín, and even work with street gangs in Chicago. His new book argues that fighting is hard, and finding peace is easier than you think. Below, Chris...Read More »
Here on the Better Samaritan we’re learning how to “do good better.” Using Jesus’ story as a guiding metaphor, this involves getting better at (like the Good Samaritan did) helping the person left by the side of the Jericho road who was robbed and beaten up. It also involves learning how to make the metaphorical road safer. Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace, by Chris Blattman, helped me to better understand why the road is dangerous at times–and also how we can make it...Read More »
A study gave cash and therapy to men at risk of criminal behavior. 10 years later, the results are in.
What if someone told you that you could dramatically reduce the crime rate without resorting to coercive policing or incarceration? In fact, what if they said you could avert a serious crime — a robbery, say, or maybe even a murder — just by shelling out $1.50? That’s such an incredibly good deal that it sounds too good to be true. But it’s been borne out by the research of Chris Blattman, Margaret Sheridan, Julian Jamison, and Sebastian Chaskel. Their new study provides experimental...Read More »
Arrests, shootings plunged among those who took part in anti-violence program, even as crime spiked in city, new study finds
A new study of a Chicago-based anti-violence program has provided some of the best evidence to date that there are ways to tamp down violence among members of the most endangered populations in the city without arresting them or throwing them in jail.The last two years-plus have seen unprecedented spikes in violence in Chicago and cities...Read More »
Hi, I’m Chris Blattman from The University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. My book Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace publishes tomorrow April 19th. ProofI’m an economist and political scientist. I’ve worked in civil wars in East & West Africa, and with gangs in Colombia and Chicago. My book looks at fighting of every kind—from civil conflicts and gang wars to ancient Greece and the World Wars, plus the kinds of invasions we are witnessing now in...Read More »
One of the many distressing things about following a crisis like the war in Ukraine from afar is the combination of wishing for people not to suffer and feeling powerless to help them. Even if no single civilian is going to sway the outcome of the war from thousands of miles away, the impulse to reduce others’ suffering is worth listening to.Determining the best way to help with a global problem, particularly a war, is daunting. Any help helps, though—we shouldn’t overthink it. But we should...Read More »