Honing the proper edge: CERP and the two-sided potential of military-led development in Afghanistan
Using a newer and expanded dataset as well as a survey of practitioner perceptions, this article adds to a recent body of literature on reconstruction and violence in Afghanistan. Data are taken from military-led development projects by way of the United States military’s Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP) and, to measure violence, from U.S. military Significant Activity reports. The results suggest that, at great cost, large-budget CERP efforts (those in excess of USD50,000 per project) are associated with an increase in violence and thus counter-productive to military stability goals. In contrast, small projects (below USD50,000), which comprise a smaller proportion of total CERP allocations, are associated in statistically significant ways with reductions in violence. To explore why CERP projects may have these effects, the article also examines administrative modalities for CERP spending. The results suggest that timely, flexible expenditure of CERP funds are most effective at reducing violence. [JEL codes: D74, O53]
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