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Societal Violence: The Role of Formal and Informal Institutions

Sherbaz, Sadia and Khan, Karim (2021): Societal Violence: The Role of Formal and Informal Institutions.

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Abstract

Violence is a recourse towards achieving particular objectives. In its most extreme form, violence deprives the victim of the most basics of human rights, i.e. the right to live and bodily integrity. Thus, violence is undesirable and needs to be prevented. Formal and informal institutions are structured in societies to govern such an undesirable behavior. In this study, we want to assess the role played by the formal and informal institutions in the mitigation or exacerbation of societal violence. In addition, we want to evaluate the implications of informal institutions as far as the relationship between formal institutions and societal violence is concerned. We take three indicators of societal violence, namely, homicides, gender-based violence and violence against children. We find that while overall occurrence of societal violence is more effectively mitigated by informal institutions; formal institutions are more effective in mitigating violence targeted towards women and children. These results signify the importance of both formal and informal institutions in prevention of the violence in society. Alternatively, institutional reforms are the key to mitigating societal violence.

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