Konstantin Sonin, Austin L. Wright

Information Operations Increase Civilian Security Cooperation

Abstract: Information operations are considered a central element of modern warfare and counter-insurgency, yet there remains little systematic evidence of their effectiveness. Using a geographic quasi-experiment conducted during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, we demonstrate that civilians exposed to the government’s information campaign resulted in more civilian security cooperation, which in turn increased bomb neutralisations. These results are robust to a number of alternative model specifications that account for troop presence, patrol-based operations, and local military aid allocation. The paper demonstrates that information campaigns can lead to substantive attitudinal and behavioural changes in an adversarial environment and substantially improve battlefield outcomes.

The Economic Journal

The University of Chicago