Direct Democracy and Resource Allocation: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan

26 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Andrew Beath

Andrew Beath

World Bank

Fotini Christia

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

Ruben Enikolopov

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 1, 2012

Abstract

Direct democracy is designed to better align public resource allocation decisions with citizen preferences. Using a randomized field experiment in 250 villages across Afghanistan, this paper compares outcomes of secret-ballot referenda with those of consultation meetings, which adhere to customary decision-making practices. Elites are found to exert influence over meeting outcomes, but not over referenda outcomes, which are driven primarily by citizen preferences. Referenda are also found to improve public satisfaction, whereas elite domination of allocation processes has a negative effect. The results indicate that the use of direct democracy in public resource allocation results in more legitimate outcomes than those produced by customary processes.

Keywords: Housing & Human Habitats, Social Accountability, Rural Urban Linkages, Peri-Urban Communities, Parliamentary Government

Suggested Citation

Beath, Andrew and Christia, Fotini and Enikolopov, Ruben and Enikolopov, Ruben, Direct Democracy and Resource Allocation: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan (July 1, 2012). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6133, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2110094

Andrew Beath

World Bank ( 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

New Economic School ( email )

Skolkovskoe shosse 45
Moscow, Skolkovo 143026
Russia

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

Barcelona GSE ( email )

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

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
87
Abstract Views
937
rank
52,737
PlumX Metrics