DP16158 Leader identity and coordination

Author(s): Sonia Bhalotra, Irma Clots-Figueras, Lakshmi Iyer, Joseph Vecci
Publication Date: May 2021
Keyword(s):
JEL(s):
Programme Areas: Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16158

This paper examines policy effectiveness as a function of leader identity. We experimentally vary leader religious identity in a coordination game implemented in India, and focus upon citizen reactions to leader identity, controlling for leader actions. We find that minority leaders improve coordination, while majority leaders do not. Alternative treatment arms reveal that affirmative action for minorities reverses this result, while intergroup contact improves the effectiveness of leaders of both identities. We also find that minority leaders are less effective in towns with a history of intergroup conflict. Our results demonstrate that leader and policy effectiveness depend upon citizen reactions, conditioned by social identity and past conflict.