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Impact of Foreign Assistance on the Dynamics of Intrastate Armed Conflict

PI: Paul Huth, University of Maryland

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Aiding Resilience? The Impact of Foreign Assistance on the Dynamics of Intrastate Armed Conflict

Principal Investigator: Paul Huth, University of Maryland

Co-Principal Investigators: David Backer, University of Maryland, and Kevin Jones, University of Maryland

Years of Award: 2014-2019

Managing Service Agency: Air Force Office of Science Research

Project Description:

The aim of the project was to develop and test theory on the conditions under which foreign developmental assistance could enhance the security and resilience of conflict-affected countries. The research conducted in this project examined the association between development aid and the likelihood, escalation, severity, spread, duration, and recurrence of violence, spanning the phases before, during, and after armed conflict. The research conducted in the project combined cross-national, subnational, and micro-level theoretical and empirical analyses. A distinctive contribution of the project was to develop and utilize new cutting-edge disaggregated data for much of Africa as well as select Asian and Latin American countries. These new geocoded data enabled empirical testing that was finer-grained spatially and temporally. Across the various papers and publications produced by the project, analyses were conducted on over 30 conflict-affected countries. The research collaboration in this project was based on a multidisciplinary team totaling 30 faculty, research scientists, and PhD students from 10 academic institutions based in the US, the UK, Switzerland, and Sweden. In addition, close to 100 undergraduate students received relevant training and/or coursework during the project.

The researchers in the project completed all of the central research objectives and larger project aims in each of the following research areas: 1) Developing and empirical testing policy-relevant theory on the factors driving aid distribution and its conditional effectiveness in promoting security and resilience in conflict–affected countries. 2) The collection and coding of new geocoded data sets on foreign developmental assistance, peacekeeping operations, and territorial control by state and rebel groups in civil conflicts. 3) The development of new tools and software packages to build integrated geocoded data sets on foreign assistance and conflict that enable researchers to properly and flexibly use statistical models to test relationships between aid and conflict at varying levels of spatial and temporal specificity.  In total, across these three areas of research 32 research papers have been produced which are published, under review, or in preparation for peer-review submission. In terms of research-area distribution, 5 papers focus on new geocoded data sets, 7 focus on new tools and software to analyze geocoded data sets on aid and conflict, and 19 papers examine the distribution and the effectiveness of aid in enhancing security and resilience.

Associated Publications:

Aronson, Jacob. 2015. “The Provision and Impact of External Military Support to Combatants in Civil War.” University of Maryland. PhD Dissertation.

Billing, Trey. 2018. “If Citizens in Aid-Receiving Countries Were Able to Design Aid Projects, What Would They Look like and Why?”. University of Maryland. PhD dissertation.

Cil, Deniz. 2016. "The Implementation of Peace Agreements Following Civil Wars and Post-Conflict Outcomes.” University of Maryland, 2016. PhD dissertation. 

Donnay, Karsten, Eric T. Dunford, Erin C. McGrath, David Backer, and David E. Cunningham. 2018. "Integrating Conflict Event Data". Journal Of Conflict Resolution. 63 (5): 1-28.

Ghorpade, Yashodhan. 2016. “Essays on Household Behaviour at the Intersection of Conflict and Natural Disasters: the 2010 Floods in Pakistan.” PhD thesis, University of Sussex.

Marty, Robert. 2017. “GeoSIMEX.” Https://Github.com/Aiddata/GeoSIMEX. AIDDATA. R package.

Parks, Bradley C., and Caroline Bergeron. 2016. “Untangling the Complex Relationship between Aid and Conflict with Subnational Data.”  AIDDATA, The College of William & Mary.

Parks, Bradley C, Caroline Bergeron, Michael Tierney. 2016. “Foreign Aid and Con´Čéict: What We Know and Need to Know.” In Peace and Conflict. 1st ed., Routledge.