Publication

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Grossman, G, Pierskalla JH, Dean EB.  2017.  Government Fragmentation and Public Goods Provision. Journal of Politics. AbstractManuscriptAppendix

We investigate the effects of government fragmentation on the quality of public services. We argue that an increase in the number of regional governments has two effects: (1) it redistributes fiscal and administrative resources to under-served regions and (2) affects the quality of the pool from which future leaders are drawn, while encouraging yardstick competition. Extreme government fragmentation, however, limits efficiency gains by diluting informational signals about leader quality, and by reducing administrative capacity and economies of scale. We test this argument using original data on the number of regional governments in Sub-Saharan Africa (1960-2012). Consistent with our theoretical expectations, we find robust evidence for an initial increase in the quality of services provision following regional government splits, which levels off at high levels of regional fragmentation. Three distinct difference-in-difference analyses of micro-level, geo-referenced data on health outcomes in Malawi, Nigeria, and Uganda further support our theoretical argument.

Grossman, G, Gazal-Ayal O, Pimentel S, Weinstein J.  2016.  Descriptive Representation and Judicial Outcomes in Multi-Ethnic Societies. American Journal of Political Science. 60(1):44-69. AbstractManuscriptAppendixWebsite

The extent to which judicial outcomes depend on judges' identities is a central question in multiethnic societies. Past work on the impact of the racial composition of appellate courts has narrowly focused on civil rights cases in the USA. We expand this literature by testing for ethnicity-based panel effects in criminal appeals in Israel. Using randomness in the assignment of cases to panels, we find that appeal outcomes for Jewish (majority) defendants are independent of panels' ethnic composition. By contrast, panel composition is highly consequential for Arab (minority) defendants, who receive more lenient punishments when their case is heard by a panel that includes at least one Arab judge, compared to all-Jewish panels. The magnitude of these effects is sizable: 5-10% reduction in incarceration rate and 10-15% reduction in prison-term sentencing. These findings contribute to recent debates regarding the relationship between descriptive and substantive representation in judicial bodies.

Gottlieb, J, Grossman G, Robinson AL.  2016.  Do Men and Women Have Different Policy Preferences in Africa? Determinants and Implications of Gender Gaps in Policy Prioritization British Journal of Political Science. AbstractManuscriptWebsite

Gender quotas to increase women's representation are often motivated by the assumption that men and women have different policy preferences. In Africa - where gender quotes have been particularly widespread - we find that gender differences in preferences are quite small on average, but vary significantly across both policy domains and countries. We propose a theoretical framework for differentiating policy domains where preference divergence indicates increased gender parity from those where it signifies growing inequality. We then demonstrate that favorable gender gaps increase with female labor force participation, while unfavorable gaps are more likely where women are most vulnerable. We show that these gender gaps in preferences are related to gender gaps in both political participation and representation.

Croke, K, Grossman G, Larreguy HA, Marshall J.  2016.  Deliberate Disengagement: How Education Can Decrease Political Participation in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes. American Political Science Review. 110(3):579-600. AbstractAppendixManuscriptWebsite

A large literature examining advanced and consolidating democracies suggests that education increases political participation. However, in electoral authoritarian regimes, educated voters may instead deliberately disengage. If education increases critical capacities, political awareness, and support for democracy, educated citizens may believe that participation is futile or legitimates autocrats. We test this argument in Zimbabwe---a paradigmatic electoral authoritarian regime---by exploiting cross-cohort variation in access to education following a major educational reform. We find that education decreases political participation, substantially reducing the likelihood that better-educated citizens vote, contact local councilors, or attend community meetings. Consistent with deliberate disengagement, education's negative effect on participation dissipated following 2008's more competitive election, which (temporarily) initiated unprecedented power sharing. Supporting the mechanisms underpinning the disengagement hypothesis, educated citizens experience better economic outcomes, are more interested in politics, and are more supportive of democracy, but are also more likely to criticize the government and support opposition parties.

Grossman, G, Michelitch K, Santamaria M.  2016.  Texting Complaints to Politicians: Name Personalization and Politicians' Encouragement in Citizen Mobilization. Comparative Political Studies. AbstractManuscriptWebsite

Poor government accountability is responsible for many public services delivery problems in low-income countries. Mobile phone-based platforms that allow reporting of public service deficiencies directly to public officials have recently emerged as a mechanism through which governments might be held accountable. We hypothesize that low levels of citizen participation, common to many community monitoring and reporting initiatives, are rooted in low political efficacy. We use a text-message reporting platform in Uganda to investigate the impact of two mobilization strategies on citizens' willingness to report service deficiencies. In a factorial design, we test the impact of (a) personalizing mobilization requests and/or (b) reminding participants that elected officials wish to hear about any deficiencies. Both treatments, designed to increase internal and external efficacy, respectively, have a large, positive effect on participation, but they largely serve as substitutes for each other. Interestingly, traditionally marginalized constituents---females and non-leader villagers---largely drive these results.

Grossman, G, Paler L.  2015.  Using Experiments to Study Political Institutions. Handbook of Comparative Political Institutions. (Gandhi, Jennifer, Ruiz-Ru no, Ruben, Eds.).:84-97.: RoutledgeManuscript
Grossman, G, Manekin D, Miodownik D.  2015.  The Political Legacies Of Combat: Attitudes Towards War And Peace Among Israeli Ex-Combatants. International Organization. 69(4):981-1009. AbstractManuscriptAppendixWebsite

Does combat experience foster hardliner approaches to conflict, diminishing the likelihood of reconciliation? We exploit the assignment of health rankings determining combat eligibility in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to examine the effect of combat exposure on support for peaceful resolution of conflict. Given the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to global affairs, and with no resolution to the conflict currently in sight, the question of the political consequences of combat becomes all the more pressing. We find that exposure to high-intensity combat hardens attitudes towards the rival and reduces support for negotiation and compromise. Importantly, these attitudes translate directly into voting behavior, such that combatants are more likely to vote for hardliner parties. These findings cast doubt on research highlighting the benign effects of combat and underscore the importance of combatant reintegration for the transition from conflict to peace.

Grossman, G.  2015.  Renewalist Christianity and the Political Saliency of LGBTs: Theory and Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Politics. 77(2):337-351. AbstractManuscriptAppendixWebsite

One key political development in the past decade in many, but not all, countries across Africa has been the growing saliency of morality politics in general, and of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) politics in particular. I argue that the uneven upward trend in the political saliency of LGBTs is closely related to two recent political processes: (i) a rapid growth of Pentecostal, Evangelical and related Renewalist or Spirit-filled churches (demand-side factor) and (ii) a democratization process leading to heightened political competition (supply side). To evaluate the above proposition, I created an original, fine-grained longitudinal dataset of media coverage of LGBTs in Africa, which I use as a measure of issue saliency. Using a series of negative binomial regression models, I find robust evidence that the saliency of LGBTs increases with a country's population share of Renewalist Christians, and that this effect increases with rising levels of political competition.

Grossman, G.  2014.  Do Selection Rules Affect Leader Responsiveness? Evidence from Rural Uganda Quarterly Journal of Political Science. 9(1):1-44. AbstractManuscriptAppendixWebsite

Community organizations in developing countries often suffer from self-serving local elites. This study examines whether the responsiveness of local leaders to community members can be strengthened through more inclusive and participatory rules. To address identification problems, I take advantage of a project implementation error that resulted in exogenous variation in the rules for selecting leaders of farmer associations in Uganda. I find that compared to appointed leaders, directly elected leaders are significantly more responsive to group members, leading to higher levels of cooperation. Analyzing possible mechanisms, I find that community organizations using appointments are less likely to develop monitoring institutions and auditing practices that are vital for constraining the behavior of local elites. Unique social network data provides evidence that close friendship ties between appointed and appointees substitute for formal monitoring institutions, leading to loss of confidence by community members and, subsequently, to a decline in public goods contributions.

Grossman, G, Hanlon WW.  2014.  Do better monitoring institutions increase leadership quality in community organizations? Evidence from Uganda American Journal of Political Science. 58(3):669–686. AbstractManuscriptWebsite

We offer a framework for analyzing the impact of monitoring --- a commonly recommended solution to poor leadership --- on the quality of democratically elected leaders in community organizations in low-income countries. In our model, groups may face a trade-off between leader ability and effort. If the group's ability to monitor the leader is low, then the leader may exert too little effort. A higher level of monitoring increases leader effort, raising the value of the public good. However, more intense monitoring may also drive higher ability members to opt-out of candidacy, reducing public goods value. The result is an inverted U-shaped relationship between the level of monitoring and the value of the public good. The trade-off between leader effort and ability, however, only exists in the presence of sufficient private income opportunities. These predictions are assessed using original data gathered from Ugandan farmer associations.