NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Horizontal and Vertical Conflict: Experimental Evidence

Sebastian Galiani, Cheryl Long, Camila Navajas, Gustavo Torrens

NBER Working Paper No. 21857
Issued in January 2016
NBER Program(s):Development Economics

Two types of political conflicts of interest pervade many of the world’s societies. A horizontal conflict of interest arises when different constituencies support different policies, while a vertical conflict of interest emerges when those in charge of running the government acquire and retain rents in the process of doing so. We experimentally explore the connections between the two. We identify two sets of models that incorporate both types of conflicts: electoral models with endogenous rents, and common-agency models. We adapt these models to a laboratory setting and test their main theoretical predictions using two experiments. In both cases we find support for the proposition that more intense horizontal conflict leads to higher rents, which is one of the theoretical predictions of the parametrized electoral and common-agency models that we have used.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21857

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