NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Maarten J. Voors

Development Economics Group
Wageningen University
Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN, Wageningen
The Netherlands

E-Mail: maarten.voors@wur.nl

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2018Skill versus Voice in Local Development
with Katherine Casey, Rachel Glennerster, Edward Miguel: w25022
Where the state is weak, traditional authorities often control the local provision of land, justice, and public goods. These authorities are criticized for ruling in an undemocratic and unaccountable fashion, and are typically quite old and poorly educated relative to younger cohorts who have benefited from recent schooling expansions. We experimentally evaluate two solutions to these problems in rural Sierra Leone: an expensive long-term intervention to make local institutions more inclusive; and a low-cost test to rapidly identify skilled technocrats and delegate project management to them. In a real-world competition for local infrastructure grants, we find that technocratic selection dominates both the status quo of chiefly control and the institutional reform intervention, leading to ...
 
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