Winning Hearts and Minds Through Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan

45 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2013  

Andrew Beath

Harvard University

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: 2013

Abstract

Development programs are 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 country’s largest development program improves economic welfare, attitudes towards the government, and levels of security in villages during program implementation. The positive effect of the program on security, however, is observed only in villages with low levels of violence at program start. After program completion, the magnitude of the effect on security declines and is no longer significant. Results suggest that development aid can reduce violence, but the effect is only short-lived and requires that a certain minimum threshold of initial security be in place.

Keywords: community driven development, field experiment, conflict, counterinsurgency, Afghanistan

Suggested Citation

Beath, Andrew and Christia, Fotini and Enikolopov, Ruben, Winning Hearts and Minds Through Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper; American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2303475

Andrew Beath

Harvard University ( email )

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 )

47 Nakhimovsky Prospekt
Moscow, 117418
Russia

Barcelona GSE ( email )

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

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