Does development assistance reduce violence? Evidence from Afghanistan

Tiffany Chou


Current military doctrine emphasizes the importance of development spending in reducing insurgent violence. Using data from three distinct development programs, the Afghan National Solidarity Program, USAID's Local Governance and Community Development Program, and the U.S. military's Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP), combined with military records of insurgent-initiated events, this article explores whether development aid in Afghanistan is violence-reducing. I find that overall spending has no clear effect on rebel attacks. Moreover, the type of development program most effective at reducing violence in Iraq - small CERP projects - does not appear to do so in Afghanistan. Possible reasons include troop strength, conditionality of aid, effectiveness of aid in producing benign outcomes, and measurement issues.


Development aid; peace; postwar; post-conflict

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