Development and Conflict Research (DACOR)

IGCC Research Director Eli Berman and his partners have undertaken a broad program of theoretical, empirical, and field research studying terrorism, insurgency, governance, and development to address two core questions. First, how does development reduce political violence? Second, how should development programs be designed in environments where projects and people are at risk of violent capture?

Research is conducted in key locations around the world including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Northern Ireland, the Philippines, and the Palestinian Territories. Members of the team have developed and tested theories that can form the building blocks of an integrated theory of political violence, governance, and development. DACOR is multidisciplinary, bringing together economists, political scientists, military, and development practitioners. It is also training and supporting graduate students and young researchers in the rapidly growing research fields of political and economic development in conflict and post-conflict environments.

Berman and his team are also part of the Empirical Studies of Conflict (ESOC) project, which developed an open-source website devoted to compiling micro-data and analysis on insurgency, civil war, and other politically motivated violence around the world.

Activities

Effective Development in Conflict Zones
May 29–30, 2014
La Jolla, California
Summary [pdf]
Agenda [pdf]
Speakers [pdf]
 
Transforming Security Research Workshop
February 26–28, 2013
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA
Summary [pdf]
Agenda [pdf]
Speakers [pdf]
 
Evaluating Mobile Innovations for Security and Accountability
June 8–9, 2012
Summary [pdf]
Agenda [pdf]
 
Governance, Development, and Political Violence Workshop [pdf]
June 19–25, 2011
 
USAID Evidence Summit: Development to Counter Insurgency
September 7–8, 2010
Washington, DC
 
DACOR researchers Eli Berman and Jacob Shapiro played a prominent role in the first USAID Evidence Summit, which brought together members of the research community and USAID staff to examine evidence around what has and has not been effective in countering insurgency and violent extremism throughout the world. The evidence packets linked here are provided as a resource for both the development community and researchers.
 
Agenda [pdf]
Statement by Ruth Levine, Deputy Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning [pdf]
Evidence Packet 1: Dampening Processes of Radicalization  at the Individual and Societal Level [pdf]
Evidence Packet 2: Disrupting the Formation of Groups Willing to Employ Terror and Other Forms of Political Violence to Achieve Their Aims [pdf]
Evidence Packet 3: Promoting Stabilization Once an Insurgency Has Emerged [pdf]
 
Governance, Development, and Political Violence Workshop [pdf]
June 22–28, 2009
 
The Political Economy of Terrorism and Insurgency
June 26–28, 2009
Background [pdf]
Agenda [pdf]
Speakers [pdf]
 
Responses to Political Violence and the Growth of Anti-Americanism
May 21–23, 2008
Palo Alto, CA
Background [pdf]
Agenda [pdf]
Participants [pdf]
 
Terrorist Organizations: Social Science Research on Terrorism
May 4–5, 2007 
Background [pdf]
Agenda [pdf]
Participants [pdf]

People

Eli Berman
UC San Diego
 
Joseph H. Felter
Stanford University
 
Jacob N. Shapiro
Princeton University
 
James Andreoni
UC San Diego
 
Michael Callen
Harvard University

Publications

Google Scholar link to ESOC project.

Books and Book Chapters

Berman, Eli. Radical, Religious and Violent: The New Economics of Terrorism (MIT Press, 2009).

Lessing, Benjamin. The Danger of Dungeons: Gangs and Armed Groups in Prison, in Small Arms Survey 2010 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Journal Articles

Links to journal articles are provided as a courtesy. Your access will depend on your academic institution's subscription policy.

Berman, Eli, and Laurence R. Iannaccone. Religious Extremists: The Good, the Bad and the DeadlyPublic Choice (2006).

Berman, Eli, and David D. Laitin. Religion, Terrorism and Public Goods: Testing the Club Model. Journal of Public Economics (2008).

Berman, Eli, Joseph H. Felter, and Jacob N. Shapiro, Constructive COIN: How Development Can Fight Radicals, Foreign Affairs online, June 1, 2010.

Berman, Eli, Jacob N. Shapiro, and Joseph H. Felter, Can Hearts and Minds Be Bought? The Economics of Counterinsurgency in Iraq, Journal of Political Economy 119, No. 4 (August 2011): 766–819. 

Berman, Eli, Joseph H. Felter, Jacob N. Shapiro, and Erin Troland. “Modest, Secure and Informed: Successful Development in Conflict Zones.” American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings 103 (2013): 512–17. Longer version as NBER Working Paper 18674

Berman, Eli, Joseph H. Felter, Jacob N. Shapiro, and Michael Callen, Do Working Men Rebel? Insurgency and Unemployment in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the PhilippinesJournal of Conflict Resolution, August 2011.

Callen, Michael, Mohammad Isaqzadeh, James D. Long, and Charles Sprenger. “Violent Trauma and Risk Preference: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan.” American Economic Review 104 No. 1 (2014): 123–48. 

Chou, Tiffany. “Does Development Assistance Reduce Violence? Evidence from Afghanistan.” Economics of Peace and Security Journal 7, No. 2 (July 2012).

Driscoll, Jesse, and Nicholai Lidow. “Representative Surveys in Insecure Environments: A Case Study of Mogadhishu, Somalia.” Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology 2, No. 1 (2014): 78–95.

Egel, Daniel. Tribal Heterogeneity and the Allocation of Development Resources: Evidence from YemenJournal of Development Economics 101 (March 2013): 228–32.

Heger, Lindsay, Danielle Jung, and Wendy Wong. “Organizing for Resistance: How Group Structure Impacts the Character of Violence.”Terrorism and Political Violence 24, No. 5 (2012): 743–68.

Weidmann, Nils B., and Michael Callen. ”Violence and Election Fraud: Evidence from Afghanistan.” British Journal of Political Science. (August 2012): 1–23.

Working Papers

Berman, Eli, and Aila Matanock. "The Empiricist's Insurgency." NBER Working Paper 21061. April 2015. Forthcoming in Annual Review of Political Science. 

Berman, Eli.  ”Research Note: Why Ungoverned Space?” September 2012.

Berman, Eli, Joseph H. Felter, Ethan Kapstein, and Erin Troland. ”Predation, Taxation, Investment, and Violence: Evidence from the Philippines.” NBER Working Paper 19266, August 2013.

Callen, Michael, and James D. Long. ”Institutional Corruption and Election Fraud: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan.” Working paper, March 2012. 

Condra, Luke N., Joseph H. Felter, Radha K. Iyengar, and Jacob N. Shapiro. ”The Effect of Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq.” NBER Working Paper 16152, July 2010.

Media Mentions

Mar 16, 2015. Monkey Cage blog. Washington PostEli Berman, Joseph Felter, Ethan B. Kapstein, and Jake Shapiro. How Empirical Studies of Political Violence (Can) Help Policymakers.

Feb 27, 2015. The National Interest. The Super Smart Way to Dismantle ISIS. Eli Berman, Joseph Felter, and Jacob Shapiro on how the work of the Empirical Studies of Conflict project can be applied to the threat posed by ISIS.

Jan 21, 2015. Foreign Affairs. Aid for Peace: Does Money Buy Hearts and Minds? Op-ed by IGCC Research Director Eli Berman and co-researchers Joseph H. Felter (Stanford) and Jacob N. Shapiro (Princeton).

Jan 12, 2015. KPBS Midday Edition. A Discussion on the Motivations Behind the Paris Terror Attacks. IGCC Research Director Eli Berman interviewed.
 
Jan 7, 2015. City News Service. Terror Attack in Paris Shows New Era of Terrorism. IGCC Research Director Eli Berman quoted.

Related stories
Europa teme jihadista locais treinados no Orient Médio, Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil
Local Muslim leaders react to Paris massacre, San Diego 6
Local reaction to deadly Paris shootings, CBS8.com
Ataques en París son 'nueva era del terrorismo', opina catedrático de UCSD, Telemundo
Ataques en París son 'nueva era del terrorismo', opina catedrático de UCSD, Univision
San Diegans on Targeting Journalists, KPBS

2014

Dec 9, 2014. San Diego Union-Tribune. Stark Views on CIA Interrogation Tactics. IGCC Research Director Eli Berman quoted.

Sep 9, 2014. The Guardian UK. How Can Personality Tests Improve the Health Service in Pakistan? Features DACOR researchers Michael Callen and Arman Rezaee.
 
Aug 27, 2014. KPBS. Why Americans Join Terrorist Groups. IGCC Research Director Eli Berman interviewed.

Related stories
KPBS Midday Edition, August 27, 2014. Audio.
San Diego Man Killed in Syria Fighting for ISIS

May 9, 2014. KPBS. FBI Hunts San Diego Man Suspected of Helping Al Qaeda-Tied Group in Somalia. IGCC Research Director Eli Berman quoted.

Jan 30, 2014. UCSD Communications. Citizen Monitor: Recruiting Voters to Improve Their Own Democracies. Work of former IGCC postdoc Michael Callen mentioned.

2013

Apr 21, 2013. La Jolla Light. UCSD Professor Says Boston Marathon Was ‘Lone Wolf’ Terrorism. IGCC Research Director Eli Berman quoted.

Mar 1, 2013. New Republic. Military ‘Moneyball’: Everyone Is Applying the Lessons from Michael Lewis’s Book—Even U.S. Forces. IGCC Research Director Eli Berman quoted.

Feb 14, 2013. International Business Times. Salaries for Suicide Bombers: Western States Unwittingly Fund Terrorist Activities in Palestine, Says Report. IGCC Research Director Eli Berman quoted.

Feb. 5, 2013. International Growth Centre. Can a Smartphone Save an Election?

2012

May 18, 2012. Science Magazine. Parsing Terrorism. Discusses work of IGCC Research Director Eli Berman.

Mar 15, 2012. miller-mccune.com. Spotting Election Fraud Gets Smarter, Cheaper. Discusses work of IGCC postdoc Michael Callen and dissertation fellow James Long.

Mar 2, 2012. Wilson Quarterly. Checkpoints, Not Checks. Discusses work of DACOR researchers.

Feb. 28, 2012. Macleans.ca. 93 Genius Ideas from the Lab to Improve Your Life. IGCC Research Director Eli Berman quoted.

Feb 28, 2012. Baobab blog, Economist online. African Elections: How to Save Votes. Mentions work of IGCC postdoc Michael Callen and dissertation fellow James Long.

Feb 19, 2012. Express Tribune, Pakistan. Punjab Model for Proactive Governance: New Anti-corruption Drive Makes Waves. Mentions work of IGCC postdoc Michael Callen.

Dec. 15, 2011. Foreign Policy. Point and Shoot Elections. Blog post by IGCC postdoc Michael Callen, dissertation fellow James Long, and Mohammed Isaqzadeh.

2011

Dec 14, 2011. Sign On San Diego. Over and Out: Lessons Learned in Iraq. IGCC Research Director Eli Berman quoted.

Oct 21, 2011. Slate.com. A Picture of Democracy. Discusses work of IGCC postdoc Michael Callen and dissertation fellow James Long.

Oct 4, 2011. University of Chicago Press Journals. To Win Hearts and Minds, Focus on Small Projects, Study Finds. IGCC Research Director Eli Berman quoted.

Sept. 1, 2011 IGCC IGCC Partners with University in Kabul in Unique Behavioral Lab.

Aug 4, 2011 KQED Radio. Somalia Update. IGCC post-doc Nicholai Lidow interviewed.

May 5, 2011. San Diego Union-Tribune. Bin Laden, Fugitive and Failure. Op-ed by IGCC Research Director Eli Berman.

May 4, 2011. KPBS. Bin Laden’s Hard Drives Could Yield Intelligence Trove. IGCC Research Director Eli Berman quoted.

May 2, 2011. Sign On San Diego. Bin Laden’s Ideology Lives On, Local Experts Say. IGCC Research Director Eli Berman quoted.

May 1, 2011. San Diego Union-Tribune. Local Reactions To bin Laden’s Death; What’s Yours? IGCC Research Director Eli Berman quoted.

Development and Conflict