Protests and Beliefs in Social Coordination in Africa
Leaders' misbehaviors may durably undermine the credibility of the state. Using individual level survey in the aftermath of geo-localized social protests in Africa, we find that trust in monitoring institutions and beliefs in social coordination strongly evolve after riots, together with trust in leaders. As no signs of social unrest can be recorded before, the social conflict can be interpreted as a sudden signal sent on a leader's action from which citizens extract information on the country's institutions. Our interpretation is the following. Agents lend their taxes to a leader with imperfect information on the leader's type and the underlying capacity of institutions to monitor her. A misbehavior is then interpreted as a failure of institutions to secure taxes given by citizens and makes agents (i) reluctant to contribute to the state effort, (ii) skeptical about the contributions of others.
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