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Direct Democracy and Local Public Goods: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia

Benjamin Olken

No 14123, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: This paper presents an experiment where 48 Indonesian villages were randomly assigned to choose development projects through either representative-based meetings or direct election-based plebiscites. Plebiscites resulted in dramatically higher satisfaction among villagers, increased knowledge about the project, greater perceived benefits, and higher reported willingness to contribute. Changing the political mechanism had much smaller effects on the actual projects selected, with some evidence that plebiscites resulted in projects chosen by women being located in poorer areas. The results show that direct participation in political decision making can substantially increase satisfaction and legitimacy, even when it has little effect on actual decisions.

JEL-codes: D72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-dev, nep-exp, nep-pbe, nep-pol, nep-ppm, nep-sea and nep-ure
Note: PE POL
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (14)

Published as Direct Democracy and Local Public Goods: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia American Political Science Review 104 (2), pp. 243-267, May 2010.

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