Longo, M., Canetti, D. and Hite-Rubin, N. (2014), A Checkpoint Effect? Evidence from a Natural Experiment on Travel Restrictions in the West Bank. American Journal of Political Science. doi: 10.1111/ajps.12109
Does nonviolent repression prompt subject groups to obey or rebel? By what mechanism does it do so? To address these questions, we exploit a natural experiment based on a 2009 policy toward the “easement” of checkpoints—nonviolent impediments to movement—in the West Bank. We sample populations across 17 villages (n = 599), beside one checkpoint slated for easement (treatment) and one that will undergo no change (control), before and after the intervention. We then pursue difference-in-difference estimation. This design is experimental, as easement was orthogonal to Palestinian attitudes; for robustness, we test our findings against an independent panel (n = 1,200). We find that easement makes subject populations less likely to support violence; we suggest humiliation as the mechanism bridging nonviolent repression with militancy. This warrants rethinking Israeli security policy, as short-term concerns over Palestinian mobility may be compromising Israel's long-term interests. By extension, checkpoint easement may positively affect peace negotiations.
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