“Can Development Aid Increase Social Cohesion After Civil War? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Post-Conflict Liberia”

The UCLA Department of Political Science invites you to the Comparative Politics Workshop presenting James Fearon, Professor in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall (10th Floor)
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

We describe results from a field experiment on the effects of local democratic governance institutions that were introduced in 42 of 83 randomly selected communities in northern Liberia in 2006-8 in order to strengthen community cohesion. Five months after the intervention was completed we used a community-wide public good game as a behavioral measure of cohesion. Surprisingly, given the common view that local social and political institutions are robust and resistant to third-party efforts to change them, treated communities contributed significantly more in the public goods game. We use evidence from surveys of the game players to try to understand the mechanisms by which the community-driven reconstruction (CDR) program increased community contributions in the public good game. It appears that leaders in CDR-treated communities engaged in greater mobilization and information-sharing efforts in the week between the initial community meeting that explained the game, and the play of the game itself. The main effect of the CDR program may have been to increase the number of community members with leadership and organizing experience relevant to solving a community collective action problem. There is also some evidence of greater democratic process in the treated communities. There is little evidence that the intervention increased individuals' value for public goods, or their material welfare.

Pay-by-space parking available in lot 3.

Cost : Free and open to the public.

African Studies Center UCLA


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