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


 "Security Transitions", joint with Thiemo Fetzer, Pedro Souza, and Austin Wright (R&R, AER).

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.  


"Fiscal incentives for conflict", with Jacob Shapiro (R&R, Restat).

Can tax regimes shape the incentives of governments to engage in armed conflict? India's Maoist belt contains a large share of the country's most valuable mineral deposits. Indian mining royalties benefit the States, but they are set by the central government. States are largely responsible for counter-insurgency operations within their territory. Therefore, the royalty regime could shape the incentive of states to support counter-insurgency efforts. This paper exploits the introduction of a 10% ad valorem tax on iron ore that was responsible for a 10-fold increase in royalty collections by the affected State governments. In a panel of district-level violence outcomes between 2007 and 2013, we find that the royalty hike was followed by a significant intensification of violence in districts with iron ore deposits compared to other areas. We also show that the higher royalty rates are followed by an increase in illegal mining activity, suggesting that the control of mineral resources underpins the observed intensification in violence.


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.

"Long-term effects of Gurkha Recruitment in Nepal", joint with François Libois and Juni Singh.

The British colonizers were particularly impressed by the fighting skills of the so-called “Gurkha’s” during the Gorkha war (1814-1816). As a result, the East India Company started to recruit soldiers from a large region that is now part of Nepal almost 200 years ago. The Gurkha soldiers provided many regiments to the colonial Indian Army, and they were heavily relied on during the two World Wars. After 1947, both the British and the Indian army kept recruiting soldiers from Nepal until the present day.  The transformational role that Gurkha soldiers played in the development of their villages is well documented by historians and sociologists, who suggest that they are instrumental in improving the educational facilities in their home communities. Our paper aims to provide the first quantitative evaluation of the hypotheses that Gurkha recruitment contributed to the development of rural Nepal.


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)