Do Elected Councils Improve Governance? Experimental Evidence on Local Institutions in Afghanistan

47 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2013 Last revised: 27 Nov 2013

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 15, 2013

Abstract

Using data from a field experiment in 500 villages, we study how local institutions affect the quality of governance, as measured by aid distribution outcomes. In villages where elected councils exist and manage distributions, aid targeting improves. However, if the distribution is not clearly assigned to either the council or to customary leaders, the creation of elected councils increases embezzlement and makes decision-making less inclusive. Requiring that women manage the distribution jointly with customary leaders also increases embezzlement. Thus, while elected councils can improve governance, overlapping mandates between new and existing institutions may result in increased rent-seeking.

Keywords: political institutions, field experiment, democratization, governance quality

JEL Classification: D7, O1

Suggested Citation

Beath, Andrew and Christia, Fotini and Enikolopov, Ruben, Do Elected Councils Improve Governance? Experimental Evidence on Local Institutions in Afghanistan (September 15, 2013). MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2013-24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2202563 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2202563

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 LluĂ­s 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

Paper statistics

Downloads
524
Rank
37,931
Abstract Views
2,124