Development Policy Through the Lens of Social Structure

60 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2020

See all articles by Oriana Bandiera

Oriana Bandiera

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Robin Burgess

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Erika Deserranno

Northwestern University - Department of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences (MEDS)

Imran Rasul

University College London - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: June 2020

Abstract

This paper studies how the social structure of village economies affects policy implementation by local agents. We randomly select one of two viable candidates to deliver an agricultural extension program in rural Ugandan villages. We show that delivery agents favor their own social ties over ex-ante identical farmers connected to the other (non-selected) candidate and that this is inconsistent with output maximization or targeting the poorest. Favoritism disappears when the potential delivery agents belong to the same social group. Using the randomized allocation of the program across villages, we show how unobserved social structures explain the variation in delivery rates and program effectiveness that we often observe in the data.

Keywords: agriculture extension, Development Policy, Social Structure, social ties

JEL Classification: D80, O10, O20

Suggested Citation

Bandiera, Oriana and Burgess, Robin and Deserranno, Erika and Rasul, Imran, Development Policy Through the Lens of Social Structure (June 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14876, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3628197

Oriana Bandiera (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7955 7519 (Phone)
+44 20 7055 6951 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Robin Burgess

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://econ.lse.ac.uk/staff/rburgess/index_own.html

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Erika Deserranno

Northwestern University - Department of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences (MEDS) ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/directory/deserranno_erika.aspx

Imran Rasul

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom
+44 20 7679 5853 (Phone)
+44 20 7916 2775 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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