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Modest, Secure and Informed: Successful Development in Conflict Zones

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  • Eli Berman
  • Joseph Felter
  • Jacob N. Shapiro
  • Erin Troland

Abstract

Most interpretations of prevalent counterinsurgency theory imply that increasing government services will reduce rebel violence. Empirically, however, development programs and economic activity sometimes yield increased violence. Using new panel data on development spending in Iraq, we show that violence reducing effects of aid are greater when (a) projects are small, (b) troop strength is high, and (c) professional development expertise is available. These findings are consistent with a "hearts and minds" model, which predicts that violence reduction will result when projects are secure, valued by community members, and implementation is conditional on the behavior of non-combatants.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18674.

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Date of creation: Feb 2013
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Publication status: published as Eli Berman & Joseph H. Felter & Jacob N. Shapiro & Erin Troland, 2013. "Modest, Secure, and Informed: Successful Development in Conflict Zones," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 512-17, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18674

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  1. World Bank, 2011. "World Development Report 2011 : Conflict, Security, and Development," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 4389, October.
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