A checkpoint effect? Evidence from a natural experiment on travel restrictions in the west bank

Matthew Longo, Daphna Canetti, Nancy Hite-Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1006-1023
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©2014, Midwest Political Science Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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