Measuring and Reducing Religious Bias in Post-Conflict Zones: Evidence from Côte d'Ivoire



This article explores how religious bias, once it has been cultivated through politicization and violence, can be reduced. Using foundations from social identity theory and superordinate goal theory, I develop post-conflict bias reduction strategies that include competing types of superordinate messages, economic and theological, as well as different sources of those messages. To test these strategies, I use video-based information treatments coupled with Implicit Association Tests in Bouaké, Côte d'Ivoire. The experimental findings point to three conclusions. First, implicit Muslim-Christian bias in the study area remains high. Second, Christians in the study tend to be more biased against Muslims than Muslims are against Christians. Third, the effectiveness of treatments depends on the subjects who receive those treatments: theological messages are most effective in reducing bias among Muslims, regardless of their source, and strategies that rely on political leaders to deliver messages perform best among Christians, regardless of the content.