Jacob N. Shapiro
Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy
and International Affairs
Princeton, NJ 08544-1013
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|February 2013||Modest, Secure and Informed: Successful Development in Conflict Zones|
with Eli Berman, Joseph Felter, Erin Troland: w18674
Most interpretations of prevalent counterinsurgency theory imply that increasing government services will reduce rebel violence. Empirically, however, development programs and economic activity sometimes yield increased violence. Using new panel data on development spending in Iraq, we show that violence reducing effects of aid are greater when (a) projects are small, (b) troop strength is high, and (c) professional development expertise is available. These findings are consistent with a "hearts and minds" model, which predicts that violence reduction will result when projects are secure, valued by community members, and implementation is conditional on the behavior of non-combatants.
Published: Eli Berman & Joseph H. Felter & Jacob N. Shapiro & Erin Troland, 2013. "Modest, Secure, and Informed: Successful Development in Conflict Zones," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 512-17, May. citation courtesy of
|July 2010||The Effect of Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq|
with Luke N. Condra, Joseph H. Felter, Radha K. Iyengar: w16152
A central question in intrastate conflicts is how insurgents are able to mobilize supporters to participate in violent and risky activities. A common explanation is that violence committed by counterinsurgent forces mobilizes certain segments of the population through a range of mechanisms. We study the effects of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan to quantify the effect of such casualties on subsequent insurgent violence. By comparing uniquely detailed micro-data along temporal, spatial, and gender dimensions we can distinguish short-run 'information' and 'capacity' effects from the longer run 'propaganda' and 'revenge' effects. In Afghanistan we find strong evidence that local exposure to civilian casualties caused by international forces leads to increased insurgent violence ov...
|November 2009||Do Working Men Rebel? Insurgency and Unemployment in Iraq and the Philippines|
with Eli Berman, Michael Callen, Joseph H. Felter: w15547
Most aid spending by governments seeking to rebuild social and political order is based on an opportunity-cost theory of distracting potential recruits. The logic is that gainfully employed young men are less likely to participate in political violence, implying a positive correlation between unemployment and violence in locations with active insurgencies. We test that prediction in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Philippines, using survey data on unemployment and two newly-available measures of insurgency: (1) attacks against government and allied forces; and (2) violence that kills civilians. Contrary to the opportunity-cost theory, the data emphatically reject a positive correlation between unemployment and attacks against government and allied forces (p<.05%). There is no significant relatio...
Published: “Do Working Men Rebel? Unemployment and Insurgency in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines.” (with Jacob Shapiro, Joseph Felter and Michael Callen), Journal of Conflict Resolution , August 2011 vol. 55 no. 4 496-528.
|December 2008||Can Hearts and Minds Be Bought? The Economics of Counterinsurgency in Iraq|
with Eli Berman, Joseph H. Felter: w14606
We develop and test an economic theory of insurgency motivated by the informal literature and by recent military doctrine. We model a three-way contest between violent rebels, a government seeking to minimize violence by mixing service provision and coercion, and civilians deciding whether to share information about insurgents. We test the model using panel data from Iraq on violence against Coalition and Iraqi forces, reconstruction spending, and community characteristics (sectarian status, socio-economic grievances, and natural resource endowments). Our results support the theory's predictions: improved service provision reduces insurgent violence, particularly for smaller projects and since the "surge" began in 2007.
Published: Eli Berman & Jacob N. Shapiro & Joseph H. Felter, 2011. "Can Hearts and Minds Be Bought? The Economics of Counterinsurgency in Iraq," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(4), pages 766 - 819. citation courtesy of