Abstract: This document is the second of two progress reports that provide an overview of the progress made on the DFID RA4 project “Social structures, political accountability, and effective public goods provision.” Our study is interested in better understanding how variation in age sets practices – initiation rituals for young men – affects the accountability of local leaders. Anthropologists hypothesize that age sets increase the accountability of leaders by creating a cohesive group of young men that provide a check of the power of older elites. We test this with an intervention providing village chiefs with grants to purchase health products, which are made available at subsidized rates and transported to the village. As part of the project, village oversight committees are formed to monitor the chief’s management of the project and its resources. We vary the composition of the oversight committees; half comprise a random selection of all volunteers and the other half comprise young men. We then examine how the success of the project differs for the two types of committees in villages with age sets and in those without.
Authors: Sara Lowes, University of California San Diego, Eduardo Montero, University of Michigan, Nathan Nunn, Harvard University, James A. Robinson, University of Chicago