Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy
A novel experiment is used to show that the effect of a policy on the level of cooperation is greater when it is chosen democratically by the subjects than when it is exogenously imposed. In contrast to the previous literature, our experimental design allows us to control for selection effects (e.g. those who choose the policy may be affected differently by it). Our finding implies that democratic institutions may affect behavior directly in addition to having effects through the choice of policies. Our findings have implications for the generalizability of the results of randomized policy interventions.
We thank Anna Aizer, Sandeep Baliga, Gary Charness, Ernesto Dal Bó, Guillaume Fréchette, Sophocles Mavroeidis and seminar audiences at Brown University, NYU, UC Berkeley and FSU for very useful comments. We also thank CASSEL (UCLA) and SSEL (Caltech) for the Multistage software, Omar Ahmed for adapting it for this experiment and James Campbell, Bruno García and Jonathan Rodean for experimental and research assistance. This work was supported by grant number 0720753 from the National Science Foundation. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Pedro Dal Bo & Andrew Foster & Louis Putterman, 2010. "Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2205-29, December. citation courtesy of