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Traditional Institutions and Social Cooperation: Experimental Evidence from the Buganda Kingdom

Goist, M and Kern, FG (2018) 'Traditional Institutions and Social Cooperation: Experimental Evidence from the Buganda Kingdom.' Research and Politics, 5 (1). ISSN 2053-1680

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Abstract

Recent studies show that traditional institutions and their representatives – such as chiefs or elders – are influential political forces in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. In this paper, we further explore the causal mechanism through which traditional institutions increase cooperation and mobilization. We employ a lab-in-the-field experiment using modified public goods games involving the Buganda Kingdom of Uganda. We incorporate references to traditional authority to measure whether participants contribute more when traditional institutions are involved. We explicate and test two possible mechanisms through which traditional institutions might affect cooperation and mobilization: a horizontal mechanism driven by peer-to-peer effects; and a vertical mechanism driven by access to social hierarchies. We find evidence for the latter. This suggests the critical role of traditional institutions in increasing cooperation because individuals expect that their cooperation and investment will be rewarded by traditional social elites.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: traditional authorities, Sub-Saharan Africa, cooperation, filed experiment
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2018 12:41
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2018 17:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/21197

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