Aid under fire: Development projects and civil conflict

Benjamin Crost, Joseph Felter, Patrick Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


We estimate the causal effect of a large development program on conflict in the Philippines through a regression discontinuity design that exploits an arbitrary poverty threshold used to assign eligibility for the program. We find that barely eligible municipalities experienced a large increase in conflict casualties compared to barely ineligible ones. This increase is mostly due to insurgent-initiated incidents in the early stages of program preparation. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that insurgents try to sabotage the program because its success would weaken their support in the population. (JEL D74, F35, I32, I38, O15, O17, O18, O19).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1833-1856
Number of pages24
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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