- Do development aid interventions increase the opportunity cost of conflict?
- Can rapid, visible, and labor intensive interventions in conflict zones affect socieonomic prospects and aspirations, and thereby attitudes towards the state and towards conflict?
Contribution to International Research
A considerable amount of research studies the impact of development interventions on beneficiaries’ socioeconomic outcomes. However, much less is known about the effect of these interventions on beneficiaries’ perceptions, aspirations and attitudes towards others. Yet, there is increasing recognition that such aspirations and attitudes can have dramatic consequences for a variety of outcomes, from individual well being, to individual economic outcomes, to conflict and cooperation with others. This project evaluates a Peace Fund established by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the KfW development bank in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The fund was established with the aim of contributing to peace and stability in DRC’s worst afflicted confict zones, and included interventions such as building and improving schools, markets, and other types of infrastructure. This project evaluates the socioeconomic and attitudinal impact of this fund. Importantly, it considersthe effects of such intervention on a variety of outcomes such as perceptions of individual socioeconomic prospects and aspirations, as well as perceptions of the state and conflict.
Research Design and Methods
This project employs primarily quantitative methods. We conduct individual and village elite surveys in 120 villages, with a total of around 1500 respondents. These surveys collect information on a variety of socioeconomic and attitudinal outcomes relevant for evaluating the impact of the Peace Fund. The evaluation follows a quasi-experimental approach that exploits the specific ways in which specific interventions within the fund were selected. In particular, we use as control group a set of villages that would have been targeted by interventions that were narrowly turned down.