A jury consisting of Anja Shortland (Kings College London), Zeynep Taydas (Clemson University) and Charles Butcher (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) has awarded the 2018 Journal of Peace Research ‘Nils Petter Gleditsch Article of the Year Award’ to Daniel Karell (New York University Abu Dhabi and Princeton University) and Sebastian Schutte (University of Konstanz) for their article ‘Aid, exclusion and the local dynamics of insurgency in Afghanistan’, Journal of Peace Research 55(6): 711–725. All articles published in JPR’s 56th volume were eligible for the award and the jury was faced with the difficult task of adjudicating between several outstanding articles. Articles were judged on their theoretical contribution, methodological innovation and sophistication and relevance to practical aspects of building peace. Karell & Schutte contribute to the important debate about whether international aid promotes peace in war-torn communities or whether it might incentivize further insurgent attacks. They make the theoretical distinction between infrastructure projects which deliver public goods and more targeted aid delivered to certain sectors of the local community. The authors argue that infrastructure projects are, in general, public goods that reduce community resentment while unequal aid distribution can cause grievances and increased insurgent violence. They show that the onset of more exclusionary aid projects is associated with more insurgent violence when compared to infrastructure projects, using highly disaggregated data on aid projects and insurgent activity and a quasi-experimental ‘matched wake analysis’. The article makes an important theoretical contribution by disaggregating developmental aid into more and less equally distributed forms and applies a sophisticated and innovative method to high-quality observational data. The results thus speak to an important debate about how international aid can best bring peace to local communities impacted by war. The jury hopes that Karell & Schutte’s article will stimulate further research on the local dynamics of aid and conflict. Policy-makers need such fine-grained analysis to design aid packages that are truly peace-enhancing.
The award is USD 1,000.
Honourable mention goes to the runners-up:
Yuri M Zhukov & Roya Talibova (2018). Stalin’s terror and the long-term political effects of mass repression. Journal of Peace Research 55(2): 267-283.
Matthew Osborne, Ben D’Exelle & Arjan Verschoor (2018). Truly reconciled? A dyadic analysis of post-conflict social reintegration in Northern Uganda. Journal of Peace Research 55(1): 107-121.