Working Paper
Rachel Sieder and María Teresa Sierra. Working Paper. Indigenous Women’s Access to Justice in Latin America. CMI - Chr. Michelsen Institute, Pp. 45. Bergen: CMI - Chr. Michelsen Institute. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper gives an overview of the challenges which indigenous women in Latin America face in accessing both formal state justice and indigenous legal systems, including a focus on normative frameworks, legal awareness, access to appropriate justice forums and the achievement of satisfactory remedies. In addition, it highlights promising examples of how different actors within civil society and governments are taking steps to improve indigenous women’s access to justice in different contexts. Recognizing that each of these are likely to be very context specific, it draws out the key lessons and challenges from these approaches, making recommendations on how this work can best be supported.

Michael M. Bechtel, Roman Liesch, and Kenneth F. Scheve. Working Paper. “"Inequality and redistribution behavior in a give-or-take game."”.Abstract
Political polarization and extremism are widely thought to be driven by the surge in economic inequality in many countries around the world. Understanding why inequality persists depends on knowing the causal effect of inequality on individual behavior.We study how inequality affects redistribution behavior in a randomized “give-or-take” experiment that created equality, advantageous inequality, or disadvantageous inequality between two individuals before offering one of them the opportunity to either take from or give to the other.We estimate the causal effect of inequality in representative samples of German and American citizens (n = 4,966) and establish two main findings. First, individuals imperfectly equalize payoffs: On average, respondents transfer 12% of the available endowments to realize more equal wealth distributions. This means that respondents tolerate a considerable degree of inequality even in a setting in which there
are no costs to redistribution. Second, redistribution behavior in response to disadvantageous and advantageous inequality is largely asymmetric: Individuals who take from those who are richer do not also tend to give to those who are poorer, and individuals who give to those who are poorer do not tend to take from those who are richer. These behavioral redistribution types correlate in meaningful ways with support for heavy taxes on the rich and the provision of welfare benefits for the poor. Consequently,
it seems difficult to construct a majority coalition willing to back the type of government interventions needed to counter rising inequality.
Kaivan Munshi and Mark Rosenzweig. Working Paper. “"Insiders and Outsiders: Local Ethnic Politic s and Public Goods Provision"”.Abstract

We examine the role of ethnic politics at the local level in supplying public goods within a framework that incorporates two sides to ethnic groups: an inclusionary side associated with internal cooperation and an exclusionary side associated with the disregard for others. The inclusionary aspect of ethnic politics results in the selection of more able political representatives who exert more effort, resulting in an increased supply of non-excludable public goods. The exclusionary aspect of ethnic politics results in the capture of targetable public resources by insiders; i.e. the representative's own group, at the expense of outsiders. Using newly available Indian data, covering all the major states over three election terms at the most local (ward) level, we provide empirical evidence that is consistent with both sides of ethnic politics. Counterfactual simulations using structural estimates of the model are used to quantify the impact of alternative policies that, based on our theory and the empirical results, are expected to increase the supply of public goods.

Daron Acemoglu, Georgy Egorov, and Konstantin Sonin. Working Paper. “INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE AND INSTITUTIONAL PERSISTENCE”.Abstract
In this essay, we provide a simple conceptual framework to elucidate the forces that lead to
institutional persistence and change. Our framework is based on a dynamic game between
different groups, who care both about current policies and institutions and future policies, which are themselves determined by current institutional choices, and clarifies the forces that lead to the most extreme form of institutional persistence (“institutional stasis”) and the potential drivers of institutional change. We further study the strategic stability of institutions, which arises when institutions persist because of fear of subsequent, less beneficial changes that would follow initial reforms. More importantly, we emphasize that, despite the  popularity of ideas based on institutional stasis in the economics and political science literatures, most institutions are in a constant state of flux, but their trajectory may still be shaped by past institutional choices, thus exhibiting “path-dependent change”, so that initial conditions determine both the subsequent trajectories of institutions and how they respond to shocks. We conclude the essay by discussing how institutions can be designed to bolster stability, the relationship between social mobility and institutions, and the interplay between culture and institutions.
Mario Chacón and Jeffrey Jensen. Working Paper. “"The Institutional Determinants of Southern Secession"”.Abstract
We use the Southern secession movement of 1860-1861 to study how elites in democracy enact their preferred policies. Most states used specially convened conventions to determine whether or not to secede from the Union. We argue that although the delegates of these conventions were popularly elected, the electoral rules favored slaveholders. Using an original dataset of representation in each convention, we first demonstrate that slave-intensive districts were systematically overrepresented. Slave-
holders were also spatially concentrated and could thereby obtain local pluralities in favor of secession more easily. As a result of these electoral biases, less than 10% of the electorate was sucient to elect a majority of delegates in four of the six original Confederate states. We also show how delegates representing slave-intensive counties were more likely to support secession. These factors explain the disproportionate
influence of slaveholders during the crisis and why secessionists strategically chose conventions over statewide referenda.
Francesco Trebbi and Eric Weese. Working Paper. “"Insurgency and Small Wars: Estimation of Unobserved Coalition Structures"”.Abstract

Insurgency and guerrilla warfare impose enormous socio-economic costs and
often persist for decades. The opacity of such forms of conflict is often an
obstacle to effective international humanitarian intervention and development
programs. To shed light on the internal organization of otherwise unknown
insurgent groups, this paper proposes two methodologies for the detection of
unobserved coalitions of militant factions in conflict areas, and studies their
main determinants. Our approach is parsimonious and based on daily geocoded
incident-level data on insurgent attacks alone. We provide applications to the
Afghan conflict during the 2004-2009 period and to Pakistan during the 2008-
2011 period, identifying systematically different coalition structures. Further
applications are discussed.

Mark Dincecco and Yuhua Wang. Working Paper. “Internal Conflict, Elite Action, and State Failure: Evidence from China, 1000-1911”.Abstract
This paper analyzes the long-run dynamics of internal conflict, elite action over privately versus publicly-provided security, and state development outcomes in China. We construct new county-level data that span nearly one millennium. We find that, traditionally, elites turned away from clans and toward the imperial government for safety in times of internal conflict. After the new globalizing Western influence took hold in the mid-1800s, however, threatening the imperial government’s viability, we find that elites turned back toward clans for protection, particularly during the Taiping Rebellion. Finally, we find a positive link between renewed clan activity and the eventual failure of the imperial Qing state. Our analysis provides a new perspective on the political origins of the Great Divergence, by which Europe took off economically, but China fell behind.
Vidya Sri. Working Paper. The Istanbul Convention's Compliance with the UN Handbook for Legislation on Violence Against Women. Carr Center for Human Rights, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.Abstract

The Istanbul Convention complies very closely with the UN Handbook for Legislation on Violence Against Women (VAW).* Nonetheless, the Convention diverges from the Handbook in a number of important ways. This document summarizes these divergences. 

Jonathan Rodden. Working Paper. “Keeping Your Enemies Close: Electoral Rules and Partisan Polarization”. rodden2018.pdf
Benjamin Enke. Working Paper. “"Kinship Systems, Cooperation and the Evolution of Culture"”.Abstract
Cultural psychologists and anthropologists argue that societies have developed heterogeneous systems of social organization to cope with social dilemmas, and that an entire bundle of cultural characteristics has coevolved to enforce cooperation within these different systems. This paper develops a measure of the historical tightness of kinship structures to provide empirical evidence for this large body of theories. In the data, societies with loose ancestral kinship ties cooperate and trust broadly, which is apparently sustained through a belief in moralizing gods, universally applicable moral principles, feelings of guilt, and large-scale institutions. Societies with a historically tightly knit kinship structure, on the other hand, exhibit strong in-group favoritism: they cheat on and are distrusting of out-group members, but readily support in-group members in need. This cooperation scheme is enforced by moral values of in-group loyalty, conformity to tight social norms, emotions of shame, and strong local institutions. These relationships hold across historical ethnicities, contemporary countries, ethnicities within countries, and migrants. The results suggest that religious beliefs, language, emotions, morality, and social norms all coevolved to support specific social cooperation systems.
Donald R. Davis, Eric Mengus, and Tomasz K. Michalski. Working Paper. “LABOR MARKET POLARIZATION AND THE GREAT DIVERGENCE: THEORY AND EVIDENCE”.Abstract
In recent decades, middle-paid jobs have declined, replaced by a mix of high and low-paid jobs. This is labor market polarization. At the same time, initially skilled and typically larger cities have become even more skilled relative to initially less skilled and typically smaller cities. This is the great divergence. We develop a theory that links these two phenomena. We draw on existing models of polarization and heterogeneous labor in spatial equilibrium, adding to these a sharper interaction of individual-and city-level comparative advantage. We then confront the predictions of the theory with detailed data on occupational growth for a sample of 117 French cities. We find, consistent with our theory, that middle-paid jobs decline most sharply in larger cities; that these lost jobs are replaced two-to-one by high-paid jobs in the largest cities and two-to-one by low-paid jobs in the smallest cities; and that the lost middle-paid jobs are concentrated in an upper tier in the large cities and a lower tier in the smaller cities.
Ilyana Kuziemko, Ryan W Buell, Taly Reich, and Michael I Norton. Working Paper. “"Last-Place Aversion": Evidence and Redistributive Implications”. kuziemkoetal2014.pdf
Christian Dippel and Stephan Heblich. Working Paper. “Leadership and Social Norms: Evidence from the Forty-Eighters in the Civil War”.Abstract
A growing theoretical literature emphasizes the role that leaders play in shaping beliefs and social norms. We provide empirical evidence for such ‘civic leadership.’ We focus on the Forty-Eighters, a group of political refugees from Germany's failed 1848 revolutions, and their role in the struggle for the abolition of slavery in the United States. Our primary outcome is volunteering for the Union Army. Given the enormously high death toll during the Civil War, this variable provides a powerful measure of social norms against slavery. We show that towns where Forty-Eighters settled in the 1850s increased their Union Army enlistments by eighty percent over the course of the war. Using machine-learning techniques to infer soldiers' ancestry, we find that the Forty-Eighters had the biggest impact on the enlistment of German Americans, a smaller effect on English-speaking men (American and Irish), and yet a smaller effect on Scandinavian and Italian men. Forty-Eighters who fought in the war and were successful at raising a regiment had the biggest effect on enlistment, and Forty-Eighters also had a discernible effect in the field of battle, lowering their fellow soldiers' likelihood of desertion.
Roman Levkin. Working Paper. “"The Legacy of Empires on Political Outcomes in Romania”.Abstract

This paper investigates the discontinuity in political outcomes at the former Habsburg-Ottoman border in contemporary Romania. Historically Romania consisted of three provinces which were divided between the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires. The country united in the beginning of the 20-th century and was turned into a national unitary state with a highly centralized economy. We posit that the striking institutional differences between two parts of the country in the 18th and 19th centuries could persist and influence political attitudes of people nowadays despite the fact that there was convergence in economic development across its regions and it has homogeneous institutions today. We test this hypothesis by merging data on historical borders between Habsburg and Ottoman Empires with data on voting in elections in Romania at the municipality level in the 1990s and 2000s. We find that on average within Romania the former Habsburg affiliation is associated with an increase in the percentage of votes for the major “right” parties by 3.5% and a decrease in the percentage of votes for the major “left” party by 4.5%. This is a remarkable effect taking into account that we identify these differences in political attitudes around the former border in a country which united a century ago and where during the Communist period the authorities tried to eliminate any regional differences. We do not find evidence that these differences might be explained by past ethnic diversity or geographical isolation.

Jamie Bologna Pavlik and Andrew T. Young. Working Paper. “"The Legacy of Representation in Medieval Europe for Incomes and Institutions Today."”.Abstract
Why can some governments credibly commit to the rule of law and protection of property rights while others cannot? A potential answer involves deep historical traditions of institutions that constrain rulers. We explore whether experiences with representative assemblies in medieval/early modern Europe have left their mark on incomes and institutions today. We employ Stasavage’s (2010) data on representative assembly activity in 30 medieval/early modern European polities and the Putterman and Weil (2010) data on descendancy shares from circa 1500 populations to construct country-level measures of historical assembly experience. In a cross-country analysis, we find that assembly experience is positively and significantly correlated with current incomes, a measure of the rule of law and property rights, and the Polity IV index that emphasizes executive constraint. Once the latter two variables are controlled for, the estimated effect of assembly experience on current incomes is insignificant. However, the correlation between assembly experience and either institutional measure is robust to controlling for (among other variables) current income levels, 1500 income levels, human capital levels, and two different measures of general European influence.
Working Paper. Lessons learned from Grassroots Organizations in Kenya and Zimbabwe . Initiative on VAW, Carr Center for Human Rights.Abstract

This presentation analyzes case studies from Kenya and Zimbabwe to determine the effectiveness of the Maputo Protocol on a state level. 

Melina Platas and Pia Raffler. Working Paper. “Leveling the Playing Field? Voting Behavior in an Electoral Authoritarian Regime”.Abstract
Electoral authoritarian regimes are characterized by the absence of a “level playing field”
in the realm of electoral politics. How do efforts to level the playing field affect voter behavior, and in particular, electoral support for opposition and non-incumbent candidates? We experimentally manipulate the levelness of the playing field in a large scale field experiment during parliamentary elections in Uganda by working with political parties and candidates to produce and screen videos that simulate joint campaign rallies for parliamentary candidates, giving all participants equal airtime on the same stage. We find that the intervention affected vote choice, increasing the likelihood that voters switched away from ruling party candidates and toward opposition candidates. Using a panel survey on voters’ prior knowledge and beliefs about candidates, we test a set of mechanisms underlying this switch. We find that the intervention reduced uncertainty and closed information gaps about opposition candidates. Switching away from the ruling party was driven by voters who were initially particularly poorly informed about opposition candidates.
Damián E. Blasi, Vishala Mishra, Adolfo M. García, and Joseph P. Dexter. Working Paper. “Linguistic fairness in the U.S.: The case of multilingual public health information about COVID-19”. PreprintAbstract
Lack of high-quality multilingual resources can contribute to disparities in the availability of medical and public health information. The COVID-19 pandemic has required rapid dissemination of essential guidance to diverse audiences and therefore provides an ideal context in which to study linguistic fairness in the U.S. Here we report a cross-sectional study of official non-English information about COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the health departments of all 50 U.S. states. We find that multilingual information is limited in many states, such that almost half of all individuals not proficient in English or Spanish lack access to state-specific COVID-19 guidance in their primary language. Although Spanish-language information is widely available, we show using automated readability formulas that most materials do not follow standard recommendations for clear communication in medicine and public health. In combination, our results provide a snapshot of linguistic unfairness across the U.S. and highlight an urgent need for the creation of plain language, multilingual resources about COVID-19.
Eric Alston, Lee J. Alston, and Bernardo Mueller. Working Paper. “The Logic of Leadership and Organizational Hierarchies”.Abstract
Leadership presents a puzzle for traditional economic theories of organizations. The theory of the firm recognizes advantages to centralizing authority through the facilitation of rule-based and delegated decision-making. However, the benefits of centralized authority do not address the specific contributions leaders make when they exercise their decision rights. Put differently, if effective leadership within a hierarchy is simply a function of institutionally defining and constraining a given leader’s authority, why does it matter which specific individual is at the top of the hierarchy? Nonetheless, the importance of leadership searches for private and public organizations, as well as the compensation for these roles, indicates that specific individuals matter for downstream contingencies. We develop a property rights/transaction costs theory of leadership, and use the economic logic of agency and coordination costs to test the effect of changes in Deans of Law and Business Schools, NFL coaches and Brazilian soccer managers. We find an impact of leadership changes both within and between organizations.
Filipe Campante and David Yanagizawa-Drott. Working Paper. “"Long-Range Growth: Economic Development in the Global Network of Air Links"”.Abstract

We study the impact of international long-distance flights on the global spatial allocation of
economic activity. To identify causal effects, we exploit variation due to regulatory and technological constraints which give rise to a discontinuity in connectedness between cities at a distance of 6000 miles. We show that these air links have a positive effect on local economic activity, as captured by satellite-measured night lights. To shed light on how air links shape economic outcomes, we first present evidence of positive externalities in the global network of air links: connections induce further connections. We then find that air links increase business links, showing that the movement of people fosters the movement of capital. In particular, this is driven mostly by capital flowing from high-income to middle-income (but not low-income) countries. Taken together, our results suggest that increasing interconnectedness generates economic activity at the local level by inducing links between businesses, but also gives rise to increased spatial inequality locally, and potentially globally.