State Capacity and Individual Preferences: Evidence from Rwanda

Research question

What is the effect of a strong state on individual preferences?

A strong state that has the organizational capacity to uphold peace, provide public goods and protect property rights is central to the development process. Yet, statistically sound research on the preferences and attitudes that are affected by a strong state does not exist. Are people in strong state more aware of a credible enforcement threat? More obedient? More trusting? This proposal aims to systematically investigate these issues in Rwanda. We intend to use data from a dictator game, a trust game and a public goods game, modified to measure responsiveness to government authority and investigate whether a weaker or stronger local state makes people behave more trusting or cooperative. In addition to this experimental approach, we intend to administer a survey on the interaction of Rwandan citizens with the local and central state. 2009).

Researchers

James Fenske (CSAE, University of Oxford), Leander Heldring (CSAE, University of Oxford)