Can Development Programs Counter Insurgencies?: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan

44 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2011 Last revised: 12 Jan 2018

See all articles by Andrew Beath

Andrew Beath

World Bank

Fotini Christia

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science

Ruben Enikolopov

Institute of Political Economy and Governance; ICREA; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; New Economic School; Barcelona GSE

Date Written: December 29, 2017

Abstract

We exploit a randomized controlled trial conducted between 2007 and 2011 to understand the effect of Afghanistan’s largest development program on insurgency. We find that the program generally reduced insurgent violence, improved economic outcomes, and increased support for the government. However, in areas close to the Pakistani border, the program increased insurgent violence. This effect heterogeneity appears to be driven by the presence of foreign insurgents who are not reliant on the local population for support. The results suggest that while development programs can quell locally-based insurgencies, they may be counterproductive where insurgents are not embedded in the population.

Keywords: conflict; development; aid; field experiment; Afghanistan

JEL Classification: D74, F35, I38, O15, O18, O19

Suggested Citation

Beath, Andrew and Christia, Fotini and Enikolopov, Ruben, Can Development Programs Counter Insurgencies?: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan (December 29, 2017). MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2011-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1809677 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1809677

Andrew Beath

World Bank ( email )

Washington, DC 20433
United States

Fotini Christia (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Ruben Enikolopov

Institute of Political Economy and Governance ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

ICREA ( email )

Passeig Lluís Companys, 23
Barcelona, 08010
Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

New Economic School ( email )

100A Novaya Street
Moscow, Skolkovo 143026
Russia

Barcelona GSE ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain

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