February 19, 2020 - 12:00 pm


February 19, 2020 - 12:00 am


Koc University, Rumelifeneri Campus, SOS143   View map

MiReKoc Seminar Series of Spring 2020 continues with Mert Gümren’s presentation on ‘Building Inter-Ethnic Cohesion in Schools: An Intervention on Perspective Taking’ co-authored with Sule Alan, Ceren Baysan and Elif Kubilay. The presentation and discussion will take place on Wednesday, February 19th, 2020, at 12:00, in SOS143. Registration is required for participants not affiliated with Koç University to

Title: Building Inter-Ethnic Cohesion in Schools: An Intervention on Perspective Taking

Abstract: We evaluate the impact of an educational program that aims to build inter-ethnic cohesion in schools by developing perspective-taking ability in children. The program takes place in southeastern Turkey, a high-stakes context in which there has been a massive influx of refugees. We measure outcomes that are fundamental to economic interactions and social cohesion, including peer violence, social exclusion, and prosocial behavior. Using randomized variation in program implementation, we find that the program significantly lowers peer violence and victimization on school grounds. It also reduces social exclusion and ethnic segregation in the classroom, measured by inter-ethnic friendship ties. We find that the program is highly effective in enhancing prosocial behavior: Treated students exhibit significantly higher trust, reciprocity, and altruism toward each other. Our results suggest that well-targeted educational strategies can go a long way in building social capital, even in sociopolitically difficult circumstances.

Bio: Mert Gumren received his B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering and B.A. in Business Administration from Koc University in 2012. Currently, he is a doctoral researcher at the Department of Economics at Koc University. His research interests are experimental and behavioral economics. Using both lab and field experiments he studies the behavior of both children and adults. His ongoing research involves implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of large-scale educational interventions which aim to increase social cohesion and foster non-cognitive skills (such as curiosity). His work has been published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization and Journal of Economic Psychology. (website: