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

38 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

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

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Date Written: June 1, 2013

Abstract

Using data from a field experiment in 500 villages, this paper studies 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 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: Social Accountability, Governance Indicators, National Governance, Housing & Human Habitats, Peri-Urban Communities

Suggested Citation

Beath, Andrew and Christia, Fotini and Enikolopov, Ruben, Do Elected Councils Improve Governance? Experimental Evidence on Local Institutions in Afghanistan (June 1, 2013). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6510. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2285976

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

Institute of Political Economy and Governance ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

New Economic School ( email )

Skolkovskoe shosse 45
Moscow, Skolkovo 143026
Russia

ICREA ( email )

Passeig LluĂ­s 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

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