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Thread: Aid Under Fire: Development Projects and Civil Conflict

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    Default Aid Under Fire: Development Projects and Civil Conflict

    Belfer Center, 29 Nov 10: Aid Under Fire: Development Projects and Civil Conflict
    An increasing amount of development aid is targeted to areas affected by civil conflict; some of it in the hope that aid will reduce conflict by weakening popular support for insurgent movements. But if insurgents know that development projects will weaken their position, they have an incentive to derail them, which may exacerbate conflict. To formalize this intuition, we develop a theoretical model of bargaining and conflict in the context of development projects. The model predicts that development projects cause an increase in violent conflict if governments cannot (1) ensure the projectís success in the face of insurgent opposition and (2) credibly commit to honoring agreements reached before the start of the project. To test the model, we estimate the causal effect of a large development program on conflict casualties in the Philippines. Identification is based on a regression discontinuity design that exploits an arbitrary poverty threshold used to assign eligibility for the program. Consistent with the modelís predictions, we find that eligible municipalities suffered a substantial increase in casualties, which lasts only for the duration of the project and is split evenly between government troops and insurgents.

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    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Default NGOs in Combat Zones

    From Richard Sinnreich in the Lawton Constitution:

    As the war in Afghanistan rolls into its tenth year with no end in sight, a problem foreseen several years ago by military concept writers has begun to materialize. It has to do with the growing competition between governmental and non-governmental relief and civil development organizations.

    Although the presence of private humanitarian organizations on the battlefield dates back a very long time -- the Red Cross, for example, staffed hospitals and ambulance companies on the battlefields of France during World War I -- their number and diversity has exploded during the past few decades.

    One source has estimated that 40,000 such organizations are at work in the world today, although far fewer are willing or able to operate in active war zones. Even so, the on-line "Afghanistan Analyst" (http://afghanistan-analyst.org/ngo.aspx) counts more than 200 humanitarian relief organizations present in Afghanistan alone, ranging from Oxfam and Doctors Without Borders to a Dutch committee for Afghanistan Veterinary programs.
    The entire article is available here.

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