Economics
Research insight
January 4, 2021

Political voice and pro-sociality: evidence from a lab-in-the-field experiment in Uganda

In recent years, policy-makers across the world have implemented policies to increase the presence of underrepresented groups, like women, in decision making bodies. Evidence has shown that this can alter local political outcomes. Yet, studies may confound two mechanisms: a selection effect (the representation of different preferences) and an empowerment effect (the acquisition of political voice changes one’s behavior). To test for these effects, I conduct a modified public goods game over two categories of real community goods in rural Uganda. By exogenously assigning voting power over which good is chosen, I can directly test for the empowerment effect. The results suggest that having political voice in choosing the public good does not increase pro-sociality on average. Men are not sensitive to changes in political voice. However, women contribute significantly less after experiencing a negative shift in empowerment. The results present new evidence that changes in political influence may directly impact pro-sociality.

This content was originally published in Novafrica.org

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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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