Economics
Research insight
January 4, 2021

Follow the leader: Using videos to make information on resource revenue management more relevant

Donors and policymakers have been promoting transparency in resource revenue management in resource-rich developing countries as a sort of panacea to increase accountability, combat corruption, promote government effectiveness, and foster development. Evidence on the benefits of transparency is scarce, however, which is likely due to the fact that information often does not reach the (majority of) the population; and even where information does reach people, demand for accountability remains low. In this paper, we focus on the last point: how can people be encouraged to demand accountability if they do have information and are dissatisfied with current resource revenue management? In particular, can role models inspire people to demand accountability? We designed a survey experiment in Ghana with two video messages providing information on petroleum revenue management; one also contains two interviews to directly invite viewers to voice any concerns about petroleum revenue management. Compared with a placebo video, providing information on petroleum revenue management significantly increased satisfaction with how revenues are being managed, and the stated intention to demand more accountability through the media. The role models did not have much additional effect, with the exception of significantly increasing the sense that an individual can influence how petroleum revenues are used. We conclude that providing relevant information can have an impact, particularly on changing attitudes. Getting people to demand more accountability if necessary is more challenging, and engaging role models to encourage citizens to voice their concerns relating to resource revenue management may be effective.

This content was originally published in Novafrica.org.

NOVAFRICA Knowledge Center

NOVAFRICA is a knowledge center created by the Nova School of Business and Economics of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa in 2011. Its mission is to produce expertise with an impact on business and economic development in Africa. A particular focus is on Portuguese-speaking Africa, i.e., Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Sao Tome and Principe.

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