Violence and Financial Decisions: Evidence from Mobile Money in Afghanistan

Journal Article
Published on 20 December 2021

The published version of this article is available here at The Review of Economics and Statistics.


We provide evidence that violence reduces the adoption and use of mobile money in three separate empirical settings in Afghanistan. First, analyzing nationwide mobile money transaction logs, we find that users exposed to violence reduce use of mobile money. Second, using panel survey data from a field experiment, we show that subjects expecting violence are significantly less likely to respond to random inducements to use mobile money. Finally, analyzing nationwide financial survey data, we find that individuals expecting violence hold more cash. Collectively, this evidence suggests that violence can impede the growth of formal financial systems.


Joshua Blumenstock

University of California, Berkeley

Michael Callen

London School of Economics

Tarek Ghani

Washington University in St Louis