Winning Hearts and Minds through Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Institute for Political Economy and Governance; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; New Economic School
April 13, 2012
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 counter-insurgency. Using a large-scale randomized field experiment in Afghanistan, we explore whether the inclusion of villages in the country’s largest development program alters perceptions of well-being, attitudes towards the government, and levels of security in surrounding areas. We find that the program has a positive effect on all three measures in relatively secure regions, but no effect on attitudes and security in areas with high levels of initial violence, suggesting that a certain minimum threshold of security has to be in place for the provision of goods and services to have an effect on improving attitudes towards the government and reducing violence.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: conflict, field experiment, Afghanistan
JEL Classification: F51, H43, H56
Date posted: April 19, 2011 ; Last revised: April 15, 2012
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