DP15694 Skill versus Voice in Local Development

Author(s): Katherine Casey, Rachel Glennerster, Edward Miguel, Maarten Voors
Publication Date: January 2021
Keyword(s): Community Driven Development, delegation, foreign aid, governance, Human Capital, traditional authority
JEL(s): H41, I25, O15
Programme Areas: Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15694

Where the state is weak, traditional authorities control the local provision of public goods. These leaders come from an older, less educated generation and often rule in an authoritarian and exclusionary fashion. This means the skills of community members may not be leveraged in policy making. We experimentally evaluate two solutions to this problem in Sierra Leone: one encourages delegation to higher skill individuals and a second fosters broader inclusion in decision-making. In a real-world infrastructure grants competition, a public nudge to delegate lead to better outcomes than the default of chiefly control, whereas attempts to boost participation were largely ineffective.