Working Papers

The Effects of Conditional Cash Transfers on Conflict Dynamics in Colombia (2019)

With civil war being a common curse of underdeveloped economies, understanding the effects of aid on armed conflict is of paramount importance in forming development aid policy. In this paper, I consider the effects of the Familias en Acción conditional cash transfer program on conflict dynamics in early 2000s Colombia. By exploiting spatial and temporal heterogeneity in the implementation of the CCT, I am able to recover a differences-in-differences estimate of treatment effect. My results indicate that the intervention caused a short-term increase in conflict intensity in municipalities that receive the cash transfer, characterized by more frequent clashes between rebel groups and government forces. In distinguishing between guerilla-side and government-side mechanisms, I find suggestive evidence that guerilla-side mechanisms are salient, consistent with increased rent-seeking activities, but no conclusive support for the “Hearts and Minds’’ hypothesis.

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Published Work

Toman, D. and Gaus A. (2018). #AUEU: A Twitter analysis of the AU-EU summit 2017. African Policy Circle. [Policy Paper]

This paper presents a Twitter analysis of the African Union-European Union Summit (AU-EU Summit), which took place on November 29 and 30, 2017, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. An analysis of Twitter data offers the opportunity to determine the views of individuals and groups around certain issues. Moreover, it can offer a window into public debates held over social media, how these debates change over time, which communities share what information, and to what extent filter bubbles and insular groups within and across larger communities exist. Examining 46,000 tweets, this Twitter analysis of the 2017 AU-EU Summit shows an engaged but relatively modest online community consisting of core opinion-leaders mainly from Europe who drive the discourse. Moreover, we see a set of self-referencing communities operating on the fringes and with little to no impact on the mainstream discourse.

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