In 2006, the UK government and the International Rescue Committee funded and implemented Community-Driven Reconstruction (CDR) projects across Liberia. Under these projects, a number of local councils throughout Liberia were given the chance to choose infrastructure projects for their villages and to implement their construction.
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The researchers study 300 respondents in 35 communities that experienced a wide range of violent events. To identify past violence, the authors measure how many deaths communities experienced during the war, and also interview individual households about their experiences during war.
This study discerns the type and extent of anti-American biases by measuring behavioral responses: whether or not subjects refuse to take the survey depending on who they believe sponsored it. In a mass attitude survey in Lebanon, subjects are randomly exposed to different survey sponsors, and their refusal rates are compared between treatment conditions.
In order to elicit honest levels of support, the researchers used a series of four endorsement experiments. Rather than asking civilians whether they supported the Taliban or ISAF, the survey asked whether they support four policies, which they prefaced with “The Taliban supports,” “The ISAF supports,” or “Some people support.” (The policies are in fact all endorsed by both sides.) This does not measure the individual’s support for each side, but provides an estimate of support for a group within a region’s population.
An experimental design was used in which the NSP program was partially extended to ten non-NSP districts in 2007; in each of these, 50 villages were selected and then randomly assigned to take part in NSP or not. Selected villages were grouped into matched pairs based on background characteristics and a requirement that they not be within 1km of each other; one unit in each pair was then randomly assigned to treatment.
The theory behind the Tuungane intervention is that training, coupled with exposure to and practice in accountable governance in the context of these projects, can produce learning-by-doing and bring about change in local accountability and social cohesion as well as improve the welfare of communities. This research project, mounted in partnership with IRC, sought to measure whether these objectives were met. In order to measure the causal effects of Tuungane, we use randomized intervention. The Tuungane communities were randomly selected through public lotteries from a larger pool of potential participating communities. This feature allows us to observe a set of “control” communities that are similar to the Tuungane communities in every respect except for the presence of the program. Also, among a sample of those selected, a randomly selected set of communities implemented a variation of the program in which community development committees were not required to have gender equality.