Lyall, Jason, Graeme Blair, and Kosuke Imai. (2013). ``Explaining Support for Combatants during Wartime: A Survey Experiment in Afghanistan.'' American Political Science Review, Vol. 107, No. 4 (November), pp. 679-705.



How are civilian attitudes toward combatants affected by wartime victimization? Are these effects conditional on which combatant inflicted the harm? We investigate the determinants of wartime civilian attitudes towards combatants using a survey experiment across 204 villages in five Pashtun-dominated provinces of Afghanistan --- the heart of the Taliban insurgency. We use endorsement experiments to indirectly elicit truthful answers to sensitive questions about support for different combatants. We demonstrate that civilian attitudes are asymmetric in nature. Harm inflicted by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is met with reduced support for ISAF and increased support for the Taliban, but Taliban-inflicted harm does not translate into greater ISAF support. We combine a multistage sampling design with hierarchical modeling to estimate ISAF and Taliban support at the individual, village, and district levels, permitting a more fine-grained analysis of wartime attitudes than previously possible.
Winner of the Pi Sigma Alpha Award for the best paper presented at the 2012 Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting, awarded by the Midwest Political Science Association.
Also, see the World Bank blog post and the policy brief by E-GAP that discuss this project.

© Kosuke Imai
 Last modified: Thu Aug 28 20:55:37 EDT 2014