And before anyone gets irate: No, the policy conclusion is not let’s have “more violence”.
…members of communities with greater exposure to violence during Nepal’s ten-year civil war exhibit significantly greater levels of social capital, measured by subjects’ willingness to invest in trust-based transactions and contribute to a collective good.
Previous work has suggested a mechanism at the level of individuals’ preferences. We by contrast hypothesize two community-level causal mechanisms for this relationship. First according to our institutional hypothesis communities that suffered war-related violence were forced to adopt new norms that fostered pro-social behavior.
Second, our purging hypothesis conjectures that violence may have caused less pro-social individuals to flee at a higher rate than more pro-social persons, leaving a disproportionately pro-social population in violence- plagued communities. We find strong evidence for a community-level effect and no evidence for the purging hypothesis, suggesting the institutional mechanism is at work. We also find evidence for the individual-preference-based mechanism.
A new paper from Gilligan, Pasquale and Samii.
Violence can also be traumatizing. The point is that it is not solely traumatizing.