Aid, minds and hearts: The impact of aid in conflict zones

Jan Boehnke, Christoph Zurcher

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    57 Citations (Scopus)


    It is widely assumed that development aid can help to stabilize regions in or after conflict. However, we lack empirical evidence for this assumption, and the assumed causal mechanisms are poorly specified. We conducted a micro-level longitudinal study of 80 communities in northeast Afghanistan between 2007 and 2009 and investigated the impact of aid on (perceived) security. We also investigated two possible causal mechanisms that may link aid to security: whether aid has an impact on attitudes toward international civilian and military actors (“hearts and minds”) and whether aid can help to increase the legitimacy of the state (“state reach”). While we find that aid neither increases perceived security nor fosters more positive attitudes toward international actors, we also find that aid is positively correlated with state legitimacy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)411-432
    Number of pages22
    JournalConflict Management and Peace Science
    Issue number5
    Early online date19 Aug 2013
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013


    • Afghanistan
    • conflict
    • development aid
    • hearts and minds
    • peacebuilding


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