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

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  • Enikolopov, Ruben

Abstract

Using data from a field experiment across 500 villages in Afghanistan, we study how electoral accountability of local institutions affects the quality of governance. In villages with newly created elected councils, food aid distributed by local leaders is more likely to reach needy villagers. However, this effect is observed only if the council is mandated to be the entity responsible for managing the distribution. In the absence of such a mandate the presence of elected councils increases embezzlement without improving aid targeting. Thus, while elected councils can improve governance, unclear and overlapping mandates may increase rent-seeking and worsen governance outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Enikolopov, Ruben, 2018. "Do Elected Councils Improve Governance? Experimental Evidence on Local Institutions in Afghanistan," CEPR Discussion Papers 13053, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13053
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    Cited by:

    1. King, Elisabeth & Samii, Cyrus, 2014. "Fast-Track Institution Building in Conflict-Affected Countries? Insights from Recent Field Experiments," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 740-754.
    2. Abbie Turiansky, "undated". "Collective Action in Games as in Life: Experimental Evidence from Canal Cleaning in Haiti," Mathematica Policy Research Reports b4f3a3ef599b43c6a875d9380, Mathematica Policy Research.
    3. 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.
    4. Patricia Justino, "undated". "War and Social Attitudes: Governance Interventions in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries," HiCN Working Papers 258, Households in Conflict Network.
    5. L. Kempen, 2014. "Mansuri, Ghazala and Rao, Vijayendra: Localizing development. Does participation work?," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 112(2), pages 201-205, June.
    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. Catalina Tejada & Eliana Ferrara & Henrik Kleven & Florian Blum & Oriana Bandiera & Michel Azulai, 2015. "State Effectiveness, Growth, and Development," Working Papers id:6668, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    democratization; field experiment; governance quality; Political Institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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