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Modest, Secure, and Informed: Successful Development in Conflict Zones

Author(s): Berman, Eli; Felter, Joseph H; Shapiro, Jacob N; Troland, Erin

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Abstract: Most interpretations of prevalent counterinsurgency theory imply that increasing government services reduces rebel violence. Empirically, however, development programs and economic activity sometimes increase violence. Using new panel data on development spending in Iraq, we show that violence-reducing effects of development assistance are greater when: (i) projects are small; (ii) troop strength is high; and (iii) professional development expertise is available. These findings are consistent with an information-centric ("hearts and minds") model, which implies that violence-reduction is greatest when projects are secure, valued by community members, and services derived are conditional on government control of the territory.
Publication Date: May-2013
Citation: Berman, Eli, Felter, Joseph H, Shapiro, Jacob N, Troland, Erin. (2013). Modest, Secure, and Informed: Successful Development in Conflict Zones. American Economic Review, 103 (3), 512 - 517. doi:10.1257/aer.103.3.512
DOI: doi:10.1257/aer.103.3.512
ISSN: 0002-8282
Pages: 512 - 517
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: American Economic Review
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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