Explaining State Territorial Consolidation in Post-Conflict: The Macarena Region of Colombia
32 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2015 Last revised: 4 Oct 2016
Date Written: September 30, 2015
After territory in a civil conflict has been cleared by state forces, how can permanent security be guaranteed and economic development be stimulated? This study examines the joint efforts by USAID and the Colombian government to "consolidate" gains in the conflictive FARC guerrilla stronghold of the Macarena region in Colombia through development spending and institutional strengthening beginning in the mid-2000s. I test hypotheses about how various types of development projects, spending, and military activities affect outcomes related to citizen security and economic development with statistical tests at the village-level. Identification comes from difference-in-difference analysis of perception survey responses of individuals from different communities that were eligible recipients for development programming. The results support an “institutional salience” theory of development programs in post-conflict settings where projects most closely related to residents’ daily livelihoods are the most highly valued and contribute to perceptions of state legitimacy and lasting security. The findings hold important policy implications for other regions in Colombia and other countries with post-conflict programs seeking to cement peace.
Keywords: Post-conflict, Colombia, Consolidation, Development, Counterinsurgency, USAID
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