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Insights / Research BriefAug 09, 2023

On the Importance of African Traditional Religion for Economic Behavior

Lewis Dunia Butinda, Aimable Amani Lameke, Nathan Nunn, Max Posch, Raúl Sánchez de la Sierra
Traditional religious rituals increase profits among beer sellers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by correcting overly pessimistic beliefs about the risk of theft and preventing stock-outs.
Insights / Research BriefAug 03, 2023

Constitutions and Order: A Theory and Evidence from Colombia and the United States

Leopoldo Fergusson, Javier Mejia, James A. Robinson, Santiago Torres
Absent institutions strong enough to influence a country’s distribution of resources, some constitutions deliberately allow for violence among citizens as a credible means for more powerful political parties to incentivize the less powerful to opt into governance.
Insights / Research BriefJul 26, 2023

Electoral College and Election Fraud

Georgy Egorov, Konstantin Sonin
The electoral college discourages election fraud by making it more difficult and costly to manipulate votes in swing states where opposing parties have sufficient political power to prevent fraud.
Insights / Research BriefJul 05, 2023

On The Governance of Corrupt Exchange: How Citizens and Officials Build Social Ties to Reduce Corruption’s Transaction Costs

Aimable Amani Lameke, Albert Malukisa, Raul Sanchez de la Sierra, Vincent Tanutama, Kristof Titeca
Bus drivers and police officers in the Congo form relationships to avoid long bribe negotiations during traffic police stops and thereby protect their joint revenues. Experimentally reducing opportunities for these relationships lessens the revenues from driving, and the component of that which is paid as bribes: without relationships, drivers avoid detection by the police, thereby losing passengers and obtaining lower prices, which hurts both drivers and police officers’ revenue.
Topics:  Development Economics
Insights / Research BriefMay 31, 2023

The Dictator’s Dilemma: A Theory of Propaganda and Repression

A. Arda Gitmez, Konstantin Sonin
Repression and propaganda complement each other under dictatorships; with a higher level of repression, the leader’s marginal supporter is more disposed towards support and, therefore, can be more heavily manipulated.
Insights / Research BriefApr 26, 2023

Why Did Putin Invade Ukraine? A Theory of Degenerate Autocracy

George Egorov, Konstantin Sonin
In the face of rising opposition, dictators appoint incompetent advisers who are unable to perceive the heightening threat against them. This cycle often results in disastrous policy outcomes.
Insights / Research BriefMar 20, 2023

How Are Gender Norms Perceived?

Leonardo Bursztyn, Alexander W. Cappelen, Bertil Tungodden, Alessandra Voena, David Yanagizawa-Drott
A new survey across 60 countries shows that misperceptions of gender norms are pervasive: In less gender-equal countries, people underestimate support for women’s basic right to work outside the home and for affirmative action policies, particularly support among men, while in more gender-equal countries, people overestimate support for affirmative action, particularly support among women, and underestimate support for basic rights; such misperceptions may obstruct progress toward gender equality.
Insights / Research BriefNov 01, 2022

Public Response to Government Alerts Saves Lives during Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Austin Wright, David Van Dijcke, Mark Polyak
Civilians respond sharply to threat alerts overall, quickly seeking shelter, but their response attenuates over time; 8-15% of civilian casualties during later periods of the Russia-Ukraine conflict could have been avoided with sustained public responsiveness to government alerts.