Economics serving society
Oliver Vanden Eynde

Oliver Vanden Eynde

PSE Professor

Researcher CNRS

Campus Jourdan – 48 Boulevard Jourdan 75014 Paris

5th floor, office 59

Phone +33(0)1 80 52 17 22

  • Human capital and development
  • Political economy of development
  • Political Economy and Institutions

I'm a researcher (chargé de recherche) at the CNRS and an associate professor at PSE. I'm also affiliated with the CEPR. My research focuses on civil conflict, crime, economic development, and the role of the military and police in developing countries.




"Trickle-down Ethnic Politics: Drunk and Absent in the Kenya Police Force (1957-1970)" (working paper), joint with Patrick Kuhn and Alex Moradi, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (2018).

"Targets of violence: Evidence from India's Naxalite Conflict" (working paper), Economic Journal (2018). 


"Building connections: Political corruption and road construction in India" (working paper), joint with Jonathan Lehne and Jacob Shapiro, Journal of Development Economics (2018), Vol.131.

"Economic determinants of the Maoist Conflict in India", joint with Maitreesh Ghatak, Economic and Political Weekly (2017), Vol.52 (39).

"Military service and human capital accumulation: evidence from colonial Punjab"Journal of Human Resources (2016), Vol.51 (4).



Working Papers


"Fiscal Incentives for Conflict: Evidence from India's Red Corridor", joint with Jacob Shapiro, Review of Economics and Statistics (conditionally accepted).


 "Security Transitions", joint with Thiemo Fetzer, Pedro Souza, and Austin Wright, American Economic Review (conditionally accepted).

How do foreign powers disengage from a conflict? We study the recent large-scale security transition from western troops to local actors in the context of the ongoing civil conflict in Afghanistan. The transition occurred in two stages: first the transfer of security responsibility to domestic forces, and second the physical withdrawal of NATO troops. We construct a new data set that combines information on this transition process with declassified conflict outcomes, and rich survey data collected during the conflict. Our empirical design leverages the staggered role-out of the transition onset, together with quasi-exogenous variation in the sequence of the actual base closures implied by logistical constraints. We find that the security transfer to Afghan forces is marked by a significant, sharp and timely decline in insurgent violence. This effect reverses with the actual physical pull out of foreign troops. We argue that this pattern is consistent with a signalling model, in which the insurgents reduce violence strategically to facilitate the military pull-out. Our findings have important implications for the design of exit strategies from military interventions.  


"From muscle drain to brain gain: the long-term effects of Gurkha recruitment in Nepal", with François Libois, Ritu Muralidharan, and Juni Sinh

Gurkha soldiers in Nepal have been recruited by the Indian and later the British armies for over 200 years. The transformational role that these soldiers played in the development of their home communities is often described informally, but is challenging to quantify. Using the plausibly exogenous locations of British recruitment depots in the 19th century, we use a continuous difference-in-difference design to show that exposure to historical Gurkha recruitment is associated with improved outcomes for education and indicators of female empowerment today that are specific to the “recruitable” Gurkha castes. Specifically, historical Gurkha recruitment is associated with higher literacy, a greater probability of attending school, higher educational levels, marrying later, increased women-run non-farm businesses, and a greater share of women currently using contraceptives. There is a differential in these positive effects between the “recruitable” Gurkha castes and other castes. While Gurkha castes tend to hold more assets in historical recruitment grounds, the positive impacts on education remain when we explicitly account for wealth differences. This finding is consistent with the idea that military recruitment changed the culture and preferences of recruited communities, as historians have long argued. 


Work in Progress

“Mapping rural infrastructure development in India”, joint with Jacob Shapiro.

We collected implementation details for India's flagship rural infrastructure programmes: PMGSY (roads), RGGVY (electrification, now DDUGJY), USOF (mobile phone coverage), NRDWP (rural drinking water), and IAP (small-scale projects in Maoist affected districts). We matched hundreds of thousands of individual projects to India's more than 600,000 census villages. We will be using this data to understand the impacts of these programmes, with a particular focus on regions affected by Maoist violence.

"Connecting the Red Corridor: Infrastructure Development in Conflict Zones", joint with Jamie Hansen-Lewis, Jacob Shapiro, and Austin Wright.   
A description of the data we collected is provided in an IGC Working Paper, and our descriptive analysis is summarized in an IGC Policy Brief.


“Political change, economic growth, and Crime reduction in Bihar”, joint with Clement Imbert, Chinmaya Kumar, and Nishith Prakash.

Our project aims to understand the mechanisms through which Bihar was able to leave its history of poor law an order behind. While the reduction in violent crime after 2005 is clearly marked in the State level crime statistics, there has been no in-depth academic study of the mechanisms through which Bihar’s political change enabled this swift improvement. Interestingly, the drop in crime that Bihar experienced after 2005 was not evenly spread across Bihar (State Crime Records Bureau, 2012). As part of this project, we have collected a unique data set of police station level crime data (covering almost 800 police stations, at monthly frequency, between 2001 and 2013), in order to uncover sub-district level variation in crime outcomes. This data set will allow us to identify how policy interventions and political changes contributed to Bihar's remarkable crime reduction.



Dormant papers

"Coup-friendly Institutions and Apolitical Militaries: a Theory of Optimal Military Influence"


Research Grants




PSE Summer School

Microeconomics, Markets and market failures : theory and public policies (PPD, M1)

Conflict and Development (PPD and APE, M2)