Can reconstruction programmes improve political perceptions in conflict contexts? Evidence from eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

Autor(en): De Juan, Alexander 
Koos, Carlo
Pellicer, Miquel
Wegner, Eva
Stichwörter: Business & Economics; DR Congo; Economics; impact evaluation; political perceptions; postconflict; reconstruction
Erscheinungsdatum: 2022
Herausgeber: WILEY
Postconflict reconstruction programmes often aim to improve state-society relations but fail to spell out the underlying process. We specify a mechanism that links aid programmes through (1) short-term and (2) medium-term improvements in basic services and (3) subjective progress to (4) perceptions of the state and spell four conditions (quality, sustainability, magnitude and attribution to the state) that must be met for this process to occur. We use this framework to evaluate a large-scale reconstruction programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We find that the programme improved basic services in the short term and midterm and positively affected beneficiaries' subjective well-being. However, we do not find evidence that aid benefits have translated into political trust towards state institutions-on the contrary, project villages display slightly more negative attitudes than control villages. We suggest that this is due to lack of attribution of the improvements to the state that which was included in the selection phase but largely absent in the implementation. This implies that improved services can erode state legitimacy when citizens interpret the provision by nonstate actors as a signal of the state's inability or unwillingness to provide these services.
ISSN: 0038-2280
DOI: 10.1111/saje.12330

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