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Winning hearts and minds through development ? evidence from a field experiment in Afghanistan

  • Beath, Andrew
  • Christia, Fotini
  • Enikolopov, Ruben

In areas afflicted by civil conflict, development projects can potentially serve an important counterinsurgency function by redressing grievances of marginalized groups and reducing violence. Using a large-scale randomized field experiment in Afghanistan, this paper explores whether the inclusion of villages in the country's largest development program alters perceptions of well-being, attitudes toward government, and violence in surrounding areas. The results indicate that the program generally has a positive effect on all three measures, but has no effects in areas with high levels of initial violence. These findings demonstrate that development programs can buttress government support and limit the onset of insurgencies in relatively secure areas, but that their effectiveness is more constrained in areas where insurgents are already active.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6129.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6129
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  1. Benmelech, Efraim & Berrebi, Claude & Klor, Esteban F, 2010. "Economic Conditions and the Quality of Suicide Terrorism," CEPR Discussion Papers 7995, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Beath, Andrew & Christia, Fotini & Enikolopov, Ruben, 2012. "Direct democracy and resource allocation : experimental evidence from Afghanistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6133, The World Bank.
  3. Eric D. Gould & Esteban F. Klor, 2010. "Does Terrorism Work?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1459-1510, November.
  4. Oeindrila Dube & Juan F. Vargas, 2013. "Commodity Price Shocks and Civil Conflict: Evidence from Colombia," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1384-1421.
  5. Radha Iyengar & Jonathan Monten, 2008. "Is There an "Emboldenment" Effect? Evidence from the Insurgency in Iraq," NBER Working Papers 13839, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Luke N. Condra & Joseph H. Felter & Radha K. Iyengar & Jacob N. Shapiro, 2010. "The Effect of Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq," NBER Working Papers 16152, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Oeindrila Dube & Suresh Naidu, 2010. "Bases, Bullets, and Ballots: The Effect of U.S. Military Aid on Political Conflict in Colombia," Working Papers 197, Center for Global Development.
  8. Claude Berrebi & Esteban F. Klor, 2008. "Are Voters Sensitive to Terrorism?: Direct Evidence from the Israeli Electorate," Working Papers 477-1, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  9. Radha Iyengar & Jonathan Monten & Matthew Hanson, 2011. "Building Peace: The Impact of Aid on the Labor Market for Insurgents," NBER Working Papers 17297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Beath, Andrew & Christia, Fotini & Enikolopov, Ruben, 2012. "Empowering women : evidence from a field experiment in Afghanistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6269, The World Bank.
  11. Benjamin Crost & Joseph Felter & Patrick Johnston, 2014. "Aid under Fire: Development Projects and Civil Conflict," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(6), pages 1833-56, June.
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