Direct Democracy and Resource Allocation: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan

38 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2011 Last revised: 1 Oct 2016

Andrew Beath

World Bank - East Asia and Pacific Region

Fotini Christia

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science

Ruben Enikolopov

Institute of Political Economy and Governance; ICREA; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; New Economic School; Barcelona GSE

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 30, 2016

Abstract

Direct democracy is designed to better align policy outcomes with citizen preferences. To test this proposition, we randomized whether 250 villages across Afghanistan selected projects by secret-ballot referenda or by consultation meetings. We find that referenda reduce the influence of local elites over both project type and location. Consistent with previous experimental results, we also find that referenda improve villagers’ perceptions of the local economy and of the quality of local governance. However, we find no systematic evidence that selecting projects via referenda increases the average impact of such projects.

Keywords: political institutions, field experiment, electoral system, direct democracy

JEL Classification: D7, O1

Suggested Citation

Beath, Andrew and Christia, Fotini and Enikolopov, Ruben, Direct Democracy and Resource Allocation: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan (September 30, 2016). MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2011-6. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1935055 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1935055

Andrew Beath

World Bank - East Asia and Pacific Region ( email )

Washington, DC 20433
United States

Fotini Christia

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Ruben Enikolopov (Contact Author)

Institute of Political Economy and Governance ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

ICREA ( email )

Passeig Lluís Companys, 23
Barcelona, 08010
Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

New Economic School ( email )

47 Nakhimovsky Prospekt
Moscow, 117418
Russia

Barcelona GSE ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain

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