Can Development Programs Counter Insurgencies?: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan
44 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2011 Last revised: 12 Jan 2018
Date Written: December 29, 2017
We exploit a randomized controlled trial conducted between 2007 and 2011 to understand the effect of Afghanistan’s largest development program on insurgency. We find that the program generally reduced insurgent violence, improved economic outcomes, and increased support for the government. However, in areas close to the Pakistani border, the program increased insurgent violence. This effect heterogeneity appears to be driven by the presence of foreign insurgents who are not reliant on the local population for support. The results suggest that while development programs can quell locally-based insurgencies, they may be counterproductive where insurgents are not embedded in the population.
Keywords: conflict; development; aid; field experiment; Afghanistan
JEL Classification: D74, F35, I38, O15, O18, O19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation