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Case Studies

Our case studies involve a variety of methodological approaches, and prioritise research that analyses interactions between formal and informal institutions in relation to growth and development.

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The strategic game between autocratic power, the military and the clerics

Focus of the study The purpose of this project is to develop a theoretical model that captures the interactions between civic, military and religious powers in the context of weakly institutionalized societies characterized by a high degree of religiosity. Our…

Discretion versus rule-based budgeting and assignment in Indian governments

Discretion versus rule-based budgeting and assignment in Indian governments – Inter-tier allocation of fiscal resources Background motivation for the research The literature on decentralization and service delivery in developing countries has largely focused on problems of political accountability of local…

Judicial independence in Pakistan

Focus of the study Judicial independence from state bureaucracies is considered critical for the stability of institutions and for ensuring the rule of law. As such, judicial independence is crucially important for understanding the development process. Our primary aim in…

A woman’s place is in the production management?

Focus of the study This project focuses on the question of social identity as constraints to women’s career advancement and firm productivity in Bangladesh’s garment sector. The Bangladeshi garment industry was instrumental in expanding women’s employment opportunities in the urban…

The historical roots of Female Genital Cutting (FCG)

Focus of the study Harmful social norms are an impediment to economic development. This project focuses on one such norm, female genital cutting (FGC), and aims at answering the following research questions: Why does FGC persist with different intensity across…

Economic role of clans: Linking past and present

Focus of the study The design of development policies requires a precise understanding of the informal institutions regulating economic activities. A key – yet understudied – institution in many developing countries is the clan. This project aims at understanding the…

Democratization and the supply of news media: Evidence from India

Focus of the study How does the media market react to institutional changes? This study investigates how media owners react to democratization, and in particular, estimates the extent to which their reaction is driven by a search of political influence….

Land rights and village councils in Tanzania

Focus of the study This research consists of a diagnostic survey to study how institutions can affect female land property rights in rural Tanzania following the legal reforms of the late 1990s. These reforms have established strong property rights on…

Clans, religion, and politics: A case study of Pakistan

Focus of the study If religion is interpreted in a manner that makes its prescriptions coincide with national interests or if it has been “nationalized” by rulers seeking religious legitimacy, we would normally expect the religious ideology to operate as…

Social structures, political accountability, and effective public goods provision

Focus of the study This project explores the extent to which age sets, a traditional social structure in many African societies, can be leveraged to improve local oversight, governance, and the provision of public goods. Age sets are initiation rituals…

Individualization of property rights and population pressure

Focus of the study In response to increased land pressure, customary land tenure systems continue to evolve toward more individualization and transferability of rights in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. This project aims to investigate how social norms related to…

Women’s inheritance and female empowerment

Focus of the study This study examines changes in the overall agency of women in Pakistan who receive inheritance in the form of higher autonomy, more control and access to finances and resources, or improved bargaining power. Unfortunately, there is…

Aspirations in Economics: A Review

Focus of the study This study reviews the fast-growing literature on socially determined aspirations, and the implications of that literature for the study of goal-setting, interpersonal inequality, mobility and social conflict. The core theory builds on two fundamental principles: (a)…

Female political representation and its impact in Uganda

Focus of the study The goal of this research is to investigate the determinants and impacts of female political representation in Uganda. At the higher levels of government, Uganda has an impressive number of female representatives – primarily the result…

Combatting caste- and gender-based discrimination in the healthcare and education sector

Customizing incentives to combat caste- and gender-based discrimination in the healthcare and education sector (Nepal and India) Focus of the study Inequities in access as well as quality of healthcare and education are a major challenge facing developing economies. Anecdotal…

Child marriage law, gender norms and marriage customs (Bangladesh)

Focus of the study Our key research question is: Do laws regarding child marriage (marriage below the age of 18) influence social attitudes and marriage practices when the state has limited enforcement capacity? This study investigates the effects of child…

Stock-based versus flow-based redistribution (Zimbabwe and South Africa)

Focus of the study Our key research question is: How can a political and economic equilibrium be changed so that the economy embarks on a new development path that is not derailed irrespective of who governs? This question is important…

Building a marketplace for professional business services in Nigeria

Focus of the study Understanding the role of information, quality signalling, and third-party certification in building a marketplace for professional business services in Nigeria. The main question we address is: “Why don’t more SMEs use the market for professional business…

Training for productivity: An experimental evaluation of civil service reform in Ghana

Focus of the study Our central research question is: “Does training bureaucrats in productivity techniques improve management and productivity in Ghana’s Civil Service?” This project aims to improve the Ghanaian Civil Service’s productivity by designing, implementing and evaluating novel individual…

Ownership changes, management and efficiency in the Rwanda coffee sector

Focus of the study In this project we investigate the relationship between ownership, management and firm performance in the context of the Rwanda coffee sector. The industry is undergoing a significant process of consolidation through which large downstream exporters are…

Community networks and industrial entrepreneurship in India and China

Focus of the study This case study focuses on the role of community networks in early industrialization in pre-Independence India and in contemporary China. Our research is based on panel data collected on individual entrepreneurs and firms, which includes information…

Further information

In 2017, we issued a request for proposals that resulted in commissioning 20 case studies across three themes:

  1. private sector and the institutional environment;
  2. bureaucracies and state systems; and
  3. informal social agencies (family, gender and conflicts).

In early 2018, we issued a second request for additional research, and outcomes will be made available on this website, as they are confirmed. The research pays special attention to policy implications, with the aim of identifying solutions that enhance economic growth.

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