Information Operations Increase Civilian Security Cooperation
35 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2019
Date Written: September 22, 2019
Information operations are considered a central element of modern warfare, yet there remains little, if any, systematic evidence of their effectiveness. Using a geographic quasi-experiment conducted during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, we demonstrate that civilians exposed to the government’s information campaign resulted in more civilian security cooperation, which in turn increased bomb neutralizations. These results are robust to a number of alternative model specifications that account for troop presence and operations and other confounding factors. The core findings are also corroborated with evidence from a nationwide survey and large-scale analysis of intelligence reports and counterinsurgent operations. This note demonstrates that information campaigns can lead to welfare-enhancing attitudinal and behavioral changes in an adversarial environment and can substantially improve battlefield outcomes.
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