Why Children do Volunteer?

Perhaps many individuals might ask the question, why do children decide to participate in life threatening, immoral, and damaging activities by becoming soldiers. In the Research section we identified some of the reasons and motivations of children to volunteer. Thus, here we want to discuss the bounded rationality theory which might provide some additional explanations as well.

The theory of a bounded rationality was proposed by Herbert A. Simon in 19551. It suggests that an individual while making a decision is limited to its own mental ability and the information available. In our case, this theory might be supported by many psychologists who would claim that children have less cognitive ability to comprehend the world, compared to adults. De Silva, Hobbs & Hanks2 also stated that children could not truly realize their actions in war. In addition, this theory found its support in scholars who claim that a child who becomes a soldier is unaware of their outside options. Their list of choices is very limited, and children being unaware of the their opportunities chose to become fighters. Furthermore,  considering the fact that most of the children come from poor families the possibility of  joining the armed forces might look like a good alternative, as it could secure the source of food and shelter.

Therefore, taking the bounded rationality approach into account, education seems to be a long term solution, as educational opportunities would increase not only the awareness of the outside options, but also it would increase the chances of future employment in the labor market. 

Why recruit children?

Why forced recruitment?

What makes children stay in the rebellion groups? 


1 Simon, H.  A.  (1955).  A  behavioral model of rational choice. Q. J. Econ.  69:99-118

2 de Silva, H., Hobbs, C. & Hanks, H. (2001). Conscription of children in armed conflict—a form of child abuse: a study of 19 former child soldiers. Child Abuse Review 10, 125–134


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