CCAPS researchers, in partnership with colleagues at Uppsala University, are exploring the various ways that aid can influence conflicts. The most desirable is that aid leads to growth, which in turn mitigates conflicts. The reverse is that, if aid is delivered erratically or in suboptimal ways, it could fuel existing disputes. However, even before aid can positively impact development, or alleviate disaster, there is also a risk that aid is misappropriated at the local level with the result that existing distributions of resources between warring parties can be shifted, thereby destabilizing local settlements.
Despite numerous case studies pointing to micro-level causal paths between aid and conflict, it has up until now not been possible to systematically, and over several countries, analyze how aid affects conflict at the local level. CCAPS researchers are working to finalize a dataset long in the making with Uppsala University to detail conflict actors' territorial influence, including who initiated each battle, and who controlled the territory after the battle.
This research on aid and conflict aims to construct actual areas that represent the respective warring parties' territorial influence. Once zones of influence are constructed, CCAPS researchers plan to analyze various relationships between foreign aid and conflict control, including how much aid warring parties control and how that may translate to casualty figures, and when aid may lead to more or less severe conflict.