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Direct Democracy and Resource Allocation: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew Beath

    () (Office of the Chief Economist for East Asia and the Pacific, World Bank)

  • Fotini Christia

    () (Department of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • Ruben Enikolopov

    () (Institute for Advanced Study and New Economic School)

Abstract

Direct democracy is designed to better align policy outcomes with citizen preferences. Using a randomized field experiment in 250 villages across Afghanistan, we compare outcomes of the selection of village-level development projects through secret-ballot referenda and through consultation meetings. We find that elites exert more influence over resource allocation decisions in consultation meetings as compared with referenda. Referenda also improve public satisfaction. The results indicate that the use of direct democracy in public resource allocation mitigates elite capture and results in more legitimate outcomes than those produced by less representative consultative processes.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Beath & Fotini Christia & Ruben Enikolopov, 2013. "Direct Democracy and Resource Allocation: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan," Working Papers w0192, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  • Handle: RePEc:cfr:cefirw:w0192
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Beath & Fotini Christia & Georgy Egorov & Ruben Enikolopov, 2016. "Electoral Rules and Political Selection: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(3), pages 932-968.
    2. Chapman, Jonathan, 2016. "Democratic reform and opposition to government expenditure : evidence from nineteenth-century Britain," Economics Working Papers MWP2016/21, European University Institute.
    3. Moricz, Sara & Sjöholm, Fredrik, 2014. "The Effect of Elections on Economic Growth: Results from a Natural Experiment in Indonesia," Working Papers 2014:15, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:spr:homoec:v:35:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s41412-018-0063-x is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Beath, Andrew & Christia, Fotini & Enikolopov, Ruben, 2013. "The National Solidarity Programme: Assessing the Effects of Community-Driven Development in Afghanistan," WIDER Working Paper Series 112, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. Andrew Beath & Fotini Christia & Georgy Egorov & Ruben Enikolopov, 2014. "Electoral Rules and the Quality of Politicians: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan," NBER Working Papers 20082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Beath,Andrew & Christia,Fotini & Enikolopov,Ruben & 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.
    9. repec:eee:pubeco:v:160:y:2018:i:c:p:117-131 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Catalina Tejada & Eliana Ferrara & Henrik Kleven & Florian Blum & Oriana Bandiera & Michel Azulai, 2015. "State Effectiveness, Growth, and Development," Working Papers id:6668, eSocialSciences.

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