Conditional cash transfers, civil conflict and insurgent influence: Experimental evidence from the Philippines

Benjamin Crost, Joseph H. Felter, Patrick B. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs are an increasingly popular tool for reducing poverty in conflict-affected areas. Despite their growing popularity, there is limited evidence on how CCT programs affect conflict and theoretical predictions are ambiguous. We estimate the effect of conditional cash transfers on civil conflict in the Philippines by exploiting an experiment that randomly assigned eligibility for a CCT program at the village level. We find that cash transfers caused a substantial decrease in conflict-related incidents in treatment villages relative to control villages in the first 9 months of the program. Using unique data on local insurgent influence, we also find that the program reduced insurgent influence in treated villages. An analysis of possible spillovers yields inconclusive results. While we find no statistical evidence of spillovers, we also cannot rule out that the village-level effect was due to displacement of insurgent activity from treatment to control villages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Development Economics
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016



  • Civil conflict
  • Conditional cash transfers
  • Insurgency
  • Philippines
  • Randomized control trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics

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