Please find below projects funded by the Peace & Recovery Competitive Fund.

Projects Funded During Round II (Spring 2018)

Improving Community Acceptance of Returnees from Boko Haram in Nigeria
Researchers: Graeme Blair, Rebecca Littman, Rebecca Wolfe
Country: Nigeria
Partner: Mercy Corps
Type of Project: Full RCT
Research Implemented by IPA: No
Reintegrating former members of violent extremist groups back into their communities is a growing policy challenge. The combination of large-scale campaigns of violence against civilians and the indoctrination and radicalization process employed by insurgent groups like Boko Haram leads to intense anger, and increases mistrust and wariness that former members have been irrevocably changed. Working in communities affected by Boko Haram in Northeast Nigeria, this project examines whether these barriers can be overcome to pave the way for reintegration. In partnership with Mercy Corps, researchers will explore whether recordings of former Boko Haram members apologizing, and/or explaining how they have changed, reduce feelings of anger and fear, and in turn increase willingness to accept former members back into the community in the future.


Researcher: Salma Mousa
Country: Iraq
Partners: Nineveh Governorate Council (Strategic Planning Committee), MaakThahTheh, Syriac Catholic Church of Iraq
Type of Project: Full RCT
Research Implemented by IPA: No
How do you rebuild social trust after conflict? This study explores the potential for contact with out-groups (“intergroup contact”) to reduce prejudice in a conflict setting for the first time. Iraqi Christians displaced by ISIS are randomly assigned to an all-Christian soccer team or to a team mixed with Sunni Arabs, who share the same ethno-religious background as ISIS. In the pilot, Christians assigned to mixed teams were more likely to attend a Ramadan event three weeks after the intervention, more likely to play soccer with Muslims four months later, and more likely to believe that peaceful coexistence is possible. These initial findings suggest that cooperative contact may rebuild social trust over time. This full RCT scales up the pilot, measuring impacts up to one year later on participants’ attitudes and behaviors, as well as that of their households and of the local community at large.


Syrian Refugee Life Study (S-RLS)
Researchers: Edward Miguel, Samuel Leone, Emma Smith, Sandra Rozo
Country: Jordan
Partner: Norwegian Refugee Council-Jordan
Type of Project: Panel Survey and Full RCT
Research Implemented by IPA: No
The international community has long struggled to understand the long-run effects of refugee flows, and little evidence currently exists to inform policy for future refugee crises. The Syrian Refugee Life Study (S-RLS) will be among the first systematic efforts to survey a large, representative refugee sample, and to follow that sample over time. Researchers will collect information on Syrian refugees' economic well-being, education, social attitudes, and mental health, and track these variables as refugees settle in Jordan, return to Syria, or seek asylum in third countries. This data will allow researchers to observe outcomes over time to estimate the long-run welfare implications of refugees’ migration decisions, in turn informing future research and policy. This study will also serve as a baseline for an experiment on how subsidized housing affects refugees' economic outcomes and their integration into host communities.


What Drives Individuals to Join Armed Organizations? The Role of Revenge, Moral Sentiments, and Social Networks in the DRC
Researcher: Raul Sanchez de la Sierra
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Partner: Marakuja Kivu Research
Type of Project: Full RCT
Research Implemented by IPA: No
Why do individuals decide to join armed groups? In order to sustain their operations, armed groups need to recruit and manage violent labor, but little is known about new recruits’ motivations. This study exploits the researcher’s relationship with a large-scale armed organization to examine the intrinsic motivation of new recruits, and explore the organizational trajectories of individuals with different motives. The study will look at the impact of cash transfers, ideology campaigns, and exposure to violence on both participants and non-participants within the armed group’s area of influence. The research aims to shed light on the traditionally unexplored role of the moral sentiments of injustice and revenge, and their impact for recruitment and violent labor management within armed groups.


Land Rights and Disputes in Côte d’Ivoire
Researchers: Alexandra Hartman, Aletheia Donald, Eliana La Ferrara, Markus Goldstein, Michael O’Sullivan
Country: Côte d’Ivoire
Partners: Government of Côte d’Ivoire, Agence Foncière Rurale, World Bank Africa Gender Innovation Lab
Type of Project: Pilot
Research Implemented by IPA: Yes
Following a 2011 post-election crisis that displaced over a quarter of a million people, the Government of Côte d'Ivoire has instituted a series of economic and political reforms that aim to address the underlying drivers of conflict, including land disputes. This study examines the impact of a new World Bank funded program—the Côte d'Ivoire Land Policy Improvement and Implementation Project—that aims to inclusively secure individual land use and ownership rights across six regions of the country. This pilot study involves in-depth qualitative fieldwork to inform the design of a large-scale evaluation of the project. The full study will assess the impact of the systematic land registration program on social cohesion, conflict, and productivity, and will test whether and how conditional subsidies and information can influence the norms and institutions around property rights, with a broader aim to examine ways to create inclusive political institutions in a post-conflict context.


Projects Funded During Round I (Fall 2017)

Community Policing and Public Trust: A Field Experiment in Uganda
Researchers: Robert Blair, Guy Grossman, Benjamin Kachero
Country: Uganda
Partner: Uganda Police Force
Type of Project: Full Project
Research Implemented by IPA: Yes
The ability of the police and other state security institutions to enforce the law depends on the trust and cooperation of the policed. In Uganda, researchers will evaluate a homegrown model of community policing. This model is designed to create opportunities for more positive, mutually respectful interactions between civilians and the police by allowing officers to respond more proactively to the needs of citizens and communities, providing mechanisms to report acts of corruption and abuse and encouraging citizens to rely on state security and justice sector institutions when crimes are committed or violence occurs.


Researchers: Michael Callen, Joshua Blumenstock, Stefano Fiorin, Tarek Ghani
Country: Afghanistan
Partners: ACSOR/D3, Afghan Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Afghan Ministry of Education, Afghan Ministry of Finance, Office of the President of Afghanistan, Simprints
Type of Project: Full Project
Research Implemented by IPA: No
In Afghanistan, substantial resources are lost to government employee payment leakage and payments to ghost workers. Mobile Salary Payments (MSPs)—a system enabling employees to receive their salaries directly via mobile money—present a potential solution. Researchers will partner with the Afghan government to evaluate the impacts of MSPs on corruption, service delivery, and Afghanistan’s effort to consolidate peace, particularly in areas held by non-state actors. Additionally, researchers will develop new methods for monitoring civil servant performance through the analysis of high-frequency, geo-tagged mobile phone records.


Creating a Panel Data on Locals and Immigrants from Myanmar in Bangladesh
Researchers: Mushfiq Mobarak, Austin Davis, Paula Lopez-Pena
Country: Bangladesh
Type of Project: Public Good
Research Implemented by IPA: Yes
For decades, forcibly displaced persons from Myanmar have fled over the border to Bangladesh, with more than half a million arrivals since August 2017. Despite the persistence and scale of this displacement, there exists little evidence addressing the core policy problem: how to integrate refugees into economic life while maintaining or improving the wellbeing of host community members. Researchers will collect detailed social, economic, and health data from a representative sample of households and enterprises in southern Bangladesh. The survey explores current and retrospective household composition, labor market outcomes, and migration decisions. It will also gather data on consumption, income, assets, physical and mental health, trauma, access to essential services, time use, and crime and conflict. Designed as the baseline of a panel survey, these data will support descriptive and experimental work to identify long-run policies for communities receiving refugees.


The Impact of Mental Health Care and Cash Transfers on Syrian Refugee Communities in Lebanon
Researchers: Stefan Dercon, Karlijin Morsink, Anett John, Alan Stein, Michelle Craske, Catherine Thomas, Jad Chaaban
Country: Lebanon
Type of Project: Pilot

Research Implemented by IPA: No

Integrating refugees and internally displaced people into host communities is one of the most complex challenges of our time, as the trauma of conflict and mental health issues may prevent refugees from building new economic livelihoods. In Lebanon, researchers will evaluate a novel, low-cost mental health intervention with monthly cash transfers for Syrian refugees. Additionally, they will study how such humanitarian aid projects impact the local Lebanese economy, hypothesizing that there is a “multiplier effect” of refugee support. Finally, researchers will conduct staged “game” decision-making scenarios to examine the effects of the program on social preferences and trust between Syrian refugees and their Lebanese hosts.


Decentralization, Candidate Selection, and Post-Disaster Stability in Nepal
Researchers: Rohini Pande, Michael Callen, Saad Gulzar, Soledad Prillaman
Country: Nepal
Partners: Daayitwa, National Administrative Staff College, National Planning Commission of Nepal, Institute for Financial Management and Research
Type of Project: Pilot
Research Implemented by IPA: No
In the wake of an earthquake and a decade of civil unrest, the government of Nepal has started a massive process of political and fiscal decentralization, holding its first local elections in 20 years in 2016. Researchers will collect an array of population and election data to study the selection and training of newly elected representatives to better understand who becomes a local politician and the role of political parties in the process of selecting competent and representative candidates. This will then be used to study the consequences of decentralization on the provision of services and representation of citizen interests. Researchers also plan to conduct a large-scale survey of party selection committees around selection practices, priorities, and justifications. This study will culminate in an evaluation of how decentralized institutions can increase political stability and improve post-conflict reconstruction and service delivery.


Government Legitimacy Amid Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Researchers: Jonathan Weigel, Augustin Bergeron, Gabriel Tourek
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Partner: Provincial Government of Kasai Central
Type of Project: Pilot
Research Implemented by IPA: No
Little is known about how domestic insurgencies affect citizens’ beliefs about and engagement with the formal state. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where approximately 1.4 million have been displaced and 1,500 killed by conflict between the government and local militias since early 2017, researchers will examine citizen interactions with state and non-state institutions amid ongoing civil conflict through a panel survey in the Kasai region. Additionally, researchers will randomize invitations to government-hosted town hall meetings to measure if public dialog with state representatives improves citizens’ perceptions of state efforts to provide security.


Projects Funded Off-Cycle

Fostering Empathy in the Classroom: A Curriculum for the Integration of Child Refugees in Turkey
Researchers: Sule Alan, Ceren Baysan, Elif Kubilay
Country: Turkey
Partner: Ministry of Education, Mersin and Sanliurfa Provinces
Type of Project: Pilot
Research Implemented by IPA: No
Since the beginning of the Syrian War in 2011, Turkey has received over 3.5 million Syrian refugees, including nearly 1 million children. Syrian refugee children face social exclusion and in-school violence. Socially excluded individuals are less likely to exhibit prosocial attributes. These outcomes may justify even further social exclusion and intergroup violence. This study evaluates a unique educational intervention that aims to mitigate this cycle by fostering “perspective-taking” among host and Syrian students in schools that recently received a significant number of refugee children. The intervention involves a specifically designed curriculum that teachers will be trained on to deliver to their students. Researchers will measure the effect of the intervention on intergroup violence and acts of social exclusion through its influence on prosocial behavior, noncognitive skills, and social preferences.