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Direct democracy and resource allocation : experimental evidence from Afghanistan

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  • Beath, Andrew
  • Christia, Fotini
  • Enikolopov, Ruben

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.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6133.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6133

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Related research

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

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References

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  1. Patricia Funk & Christina Gathmann, 2007. "Does direct democracy reduce the size of government? New evidence from historical data, 1890-2000," Economics Working Papers 1123, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2008.
  2. Eric Maskin, 2003. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000076, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Peltzman, Sam, 1984. "Constituent Interest and Congressional Voting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 181-210, April.
  4. Romer, Thomas & Rosenthal, Howard, 1979. "Bureaucrats versus Voters: On the Political Economy of Resource Allocation by Direct Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 563-87, November.
  5. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Decentralisation and Accountability in Infrastructure Delivery in Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 101-127, 01.
  6. Kau, James B & Rubin, Paul H, 1979. "Self-Interest, Ideology, and Logrolling in Congressional Voting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 365-84, October.
  7. Andrew Beath & Fotini Christia & Ruben Enikolopov, 2011. "Winning Hearts and Minds through Development Aid: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan," Working Papers w0166, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
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Cited by:
  1. Beath, Andrew & Christia, Fotini & Enikolopov, Ruben, 2012. "Winning hearts and minds through development ? evidence from a field experiment in Afghanistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6129, The World Bank.
  2. Beath, Andrew & Christia, Fotini & Enikolopov, Ruben, 2013. "The National Solidarity Programme: Assessing the effects of community-driven development in Afghanistan," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  3. Avdeenko, Alexandra & Gilligan, Michael J., 2014. "International interventions to build social capital : evidence from a field experiment in Sudan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6772, The World Bank.

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