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Establishing Local Government in Fragile States: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan

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  • Jochem, Torsten
  • Murtazashvili, Ilia
  • Murtazashvili, Jennifer

Abstract

International and domestic policy makers often promote elections to establish village government in fragile states. However, two additional options are available in such countries: formalization of self-governing village councils and formalization of community development councils (CDCs). We designed a survey experiment in Afghanistan that compares the consequences of elections to establish village councils to each alternative. We find that elections, and to a lesser extent formalization of CDCs, improve support for democracy, while formalization of customary councils improves support for reconciliation with the Taliban. Moreover, the consequences of transplanting elections are contingent on social norms and institutions supportive of democracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Jochem, Torsten & Murtazashvili, Ilia & Murtazashvili, Jennifer, 2016. "Establishing Local Government in Fragile States: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 293-310.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:77:y:2016:i:c:p:293-310
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.08.025
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