Winning Hearts and Minds through Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan
World Bank - East Asia and Pacific Region
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science
Institute of Political Economy and Governance; ICREA; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; New Economic School; Barcelona GSE
April 25, 2016
MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2011-14
Development programs have been increasingly used not only as an instrument for economic and political development, but also as a tool for counterinsurgency. We explore the effectiveness of this approach using a large-scale randomized field experiment in Afghanistan. We find that the effects of development aid on violence vary significantly across regions. Specifically, while aid from the country’s largest development program reduced violence in provinces that do not border Pakistan, it increased conflict in areas on that border. This difference is consistent with the hypothesis that border regions rely on insurgent recruitment from Pakistan, rendering local population support less salient. This allows insurgents in the border areas to attack villagers receiving aid as a way to sabotage the program and curb civilian support for the government.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 45
Keywords: conflict, field experiment, Afghanistan
JEL Classification: F51, H43, H56
Date posted: April 19, 2011 ; Last revised: April 26, 2016
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