Winning Hearts and Minds Through Development? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan

33 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016 Last revised: 24 Jan 2018

See all articles by Andrew Beath

Andrew Beath

World Bank

Fotini Christia

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science

Ruben Enikolopov

New Economic School; Institute of Political Economy and Governance; ICREA; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona GSE

Date Written: July 1, 2012

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Labor Policies, Subnational Economic Development, E-Business, Post Conflict Reconstruction, Housing & Human Habitats

Suggested Citation

Beath, Andrew and Christia, Fotini and Enikolopov, Ruben and Enikolopov, Ruben, Winning Hearts and Minds Through Development? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan (July 1, 2012). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6129, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2104607

Andrew Beath

World Bank ( email )

Washington, DC 20433
United States

Fotini Christia

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Ruben Enikolopov

New Economic School ( email )

Skolkovskoe shosse 45
Moscow, Skolkovo 143026
Russia

Institute of Political Economy and Governance ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

ICREA ( email )

Passeig Lluís Companys, 23
Barcelona, 08010
Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

Barcelona GSE ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain

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