Preventing Islamic radicalization: Experimental evidence on anti-social behavior

Pedro C. Vicente, Inês Vilela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social tensions and violence induced by radicalized Muslims afflict many parts of the world. We collaborated with the main Islamic authority in Mozambique, which sponsored two randomized interventions to prevent violence related to youth radicalization: a religious campaign against extremist views of Islam, targeting change in beliefs; and a training module on entrepreneurship and employment, aiming to increase the opportunity cost of conflict. Our measurement focuses on anti-social behavior in a Joy-of-destruction lab game. We find that only the religious treatment decreased the propensity to destroy the payoffs of others. Consistently, surveys show increased trust in the state and decreased support for extremism. We conclude that religious sensitization is likely to be cost-effective in preventing Islamic radicalization and anti-social behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-485
JournalJournal Of Comparative Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Africa
  • Conflict
  • Field experiment
  • Islamic radicalization
  • Joy-of-destruction game
  • Mozambique
  • Political economy
  • Violence


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