Working Paper
Youth, violence, and sustaining peace

Violent conflicts affect the lives and livelihoods of almost one quarter of the world’s population. But the effects of violent conflict are not uniform.

This study assesses the differential effects of violent conflict on young people’s education, job prospects, and forms of civic engagement and investigates using available (limited) data the potential role of young people in supporting peace and stability in their communities in Afghanistan, Colombia, Mexico, and Nepal.

The empirical analysis points to two suggestive patterns. First, violent conflict causes immense destruction but is not always associated with negative outcomes among young adults.

Second, there is largely no statistically significant association in the four case studies between the share of young adults and the likelihood of communities experiencing violent conflict. In fact, young people are more likely to be engaged in their community and have a more positive outlook on life and future perspectives in conflict-affected areas.

We expect this study to stimulate further rigorous research into the role of young adults in conflict contexts, as well as much-needed investments in adequate datasets that map and identify the potential role that young men and women may be able to play in preventing conflicts and sustaining peace in their communities.

Additional material

Online Appendix