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Baldassarri, D, Grossman G.  2011.  Centralized Sanctioning and Legitimate Authority Promote Cooperation in Humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 27(108):11023–11027. AbstractManuscriptWebsite

Social sanctioning is widely considered a successful strategy to promote cooperation among humans. In situations in which individual and collective interests are at odds, incentives to free-ride induce individuals to refrain from contributing to public goods provision. Experimental evidence from public goods games (PGGs) shows that when endowed with sanctioning powers, conditional cooperators can discipline defectors, thus leading to greater levels of cooperation. However, extant evidence is based on peer-punishment institutions, while in complex societies systems of control are often centralized: for instance, we do not sanction our neighbors for driving too fast, cops do it. Here we show the effect of centralized-sanctioning and legitimate authority on cooperation. We designed a novel adaptation of the PGG in which sanctioning power is given to a single monitor and we experimentally manipulated the process by which the monitor is chosen. To increase the external validity of the study, we conducted "lab-in-the-field" experiments involving 1,543 Ugandan farmers from 50 producer cooperatives. This research provides evidence of the effectiveness of centralized-sanctioning and, moreover, is the first study to experimentally demonstrate the causal effect of legitimacy on cooperation: participants are more responsive to the authority of an elected monitor than a randomly chosen monitor. Our essay contributes to the literature on the evolution of cooperation by introducing the idea of role-differentiation. In complex societies cooperative behavior is not only sustained by mechanisms of selection and reciprocity among peers, but also by the legitimacy that certain actors derive from their position in the social hierarchy.

Baldassarri, D, Grossman G.  2013.  The Effect of Group Attachment and Social Position on Prosocial Behavior. Evidence from Lab-in-the-Field Experiments. PLoS ONE. 8(3):e58750. AbstractManuscriptAppendixWebsite

Social life is regulated by norms of fairness that constrain selfish behavior. While a substantial body of scholarship on prosocial behavior has provided evidence of such norms, large inter- and intra-personal variation in prosocial behavior still needs to be explained. The article identifies two social-structural dimensions along which people's generosity varies systematically: group attachment and social position. We conducted lab-in-the-field experiments involving 2,597 members of producer organizations in rural Uganda. Using different variants of the dictator game, we demonstrate that group attachment positively affects prosocial behavior, and that this effect is not simply the by-product of the degree of proximity between individuals. Second, we show that occupying a formal position in an organization or community leads to greater generosity toward in-group members. Taken together, our findings show that prosocial behavior is not an invariant social trait; rather, it varies according to individuals' relative position in the social structure.

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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.

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Getmansky, A, Grossman G, Wright AL.  2017.  Border Forti cation and the Economics of Crime. AbstractManuscript

An important challenge in the crime literature is to separate deterrence from displacement. We estimate the causal effect of a large, plausibly random border fortification project on crime in Israel. The timing of fortification was staggered, disrupting smuggling access to some towns before others. Using data on the location of car thefts before and after fortification, we find a large deterrent effect in protected towns (41% decline) and substantial displacement to not-yet-protected towns (34% increase). For some protected towns, fortification also arbitrarily increased the length of preferred smuggling routes. These granular disruptions further deterred auto theft (6% drop per kilometer).

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.

Gottlieb, J, Grossman G, Larreguy HA, Marx B.  2016.  A Signaling Theory of Distributive Policy Choice: Evidence From Senegal. Manuscript
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, 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, Lewis J.  2014.  Administrative Unit Proliferation. American Political Science Review. 108(1):196-217. AbstractManuscriptWebsite

Numerous developing countries have substantially increased their number of sub-national administrative units in recent years. The literature on this phenomenon is, nonetheless, small and suffers from several theoretical and methodological shortcomings; in particular, a unit of analysis problem that causes past studies to mistakenly de-emphasize the importance of local actors. We posit that administrative unit proliferation occurs where and when there is a confluence of interests between the national executive and local citizens and elites from areas that are politically, economically and ethnically marginalized. We argue further that although the proliferation of administrative units often accompanies or follows far-reaching decentralization reforms, it likely results in a recentralization of power; the proliferation of new local governments fragments existing units into smaller ones with lower relative intergovernmental bargaining power and administrative capacity. We find support for these arguments using original data from Uganda.

Grossman, G, Kaplan R.  2006.  Courage to Refuse. Peace Review. 18(2):189-197.Manuscript
Grossman, G, Humphreys M, Sacramone-Lutz G.  2016.  Information Technology and Political Engagement: Mixed Evidence from Uganda. AbstractManuscriptAppendix

This study integrates three related field experiments to learn about how Information Communications Technology (ICT) innovations can affect who gets to communicate with politicians. We implemented a nationwide experiment in Uganda following a smaller-scale framed field experiment that showed that ICTs can lead to significant ``flattening'': a greater share of marginalized populations used SMS-based communication compared to existing political communication channels. We find no evidence for such flattening from the national experiment, however. Instead patterns of participation look like politics as usual: participation rates are low and marginalized populations engage at especially low rates. We examine possible reasons for these differences, and then present the design and analysis of a third mechanism experiment that helps parse rival explanations for these divergent patterns. The evidence suggests that even when citizens have issues they want to raise, technological fixes to communication deficits can be easily undercut by structural weaknesses in political systems.

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, Humphreys M, Sacramone-Lutz G.  2014.  "I would like u WMP to extend electricity 2 our village": On Information Technology and Interest Articulation. American Political Science Review. 108(3):688-705. AbstractManuscriptAppendixWebsite

How does access to information communication technology (ICT) affect who gets heard and what gets communicated to politicians? On one hand ICT can lower communication costs; on the other hand more technological channels may be used disproportionately by the already well connected. To address this question we presented a representative sample of constituents in Uganda with an opportunity to send a text-message to their representatives at one of three randomly assigned prices. Critically, and contrary to concerns that technological innovations benefit the privileged, we find evidence that ICT can lead to significant flattening: a greater share of marginalized populations use this channel compared to existing political communication channels. Price plays a more complex role. Subsidizing the full cost of messaging increases uptake by over 40%. Surprisingly however, subsidy-induced increases in uptake do not yield further flattening since free channels are not used at higher rates by more marginalized constituents.

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.

Grossman, G, Michelitch K.  2016.  Information Dissemination, Competitive Pressure, and Politician Performance between Elections: A Field Experiment in Uganda. AbstractManuscriptAppendix

Politicians regularly underperform in their job duties partly due to the obscurity of their actions to constituents. In this study, we investigate the effects of a local NGO's initiative to improve the transparency of politicians' actions in a multi-year field experiment involving 408 politicians in 20 Ugandan district governments between the 2011 and 2016 elections. The NGO created performance `scorecards' each year to rate how good politicians carried out their legally defined job duties, and presented them to all politicians in district plenary sessions. For randomly selected politicians, the scorecard was also disseminated to constituents. We find that scorecard dissemination improved politicians' subsequent performance across a range of performance measures and development project procurement, but only in competitive constituencies. The effect on the performance of duties assessed on the scorecard emerges immediately after treatment. These findings suggest that, depending on electoral pressure, performance transparency can improve politicians' performance between elections.

Grossman, G.  2011.  Lab-in-the-field Experiments. Newsletter of the APSA Experimental Section. 2(2):13-19.apsa_newletter_fall2011.pdf
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, 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.

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.  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, Baldassarri D.  2012.  The Impact of Elections on Cooperation: Evidence from a Lab-in-the-Field Experiment in Uganda. American Journal of Political Science. 56(4):964-985. AbstractManuscriptWebsite

Communities often rely on sanctioning to induce public goods contributions. Past studies focus on how external agencies or peer sanctioning induce cooperation. In this paper we focus instead on the role played by centralized authorities, internal to the community. Combining ``lab-in-the-field'' experiments with observational data on 1,541 Ugandan farmers from 50 communities, we demonstrate the positive effect of internal centralized-sanctioning authorities on cooperative behavior. We also show that the size of this effect depends on the political process by which authority is granted: subjects electing leaders contribute more to public goods than subjects who were assigned leaders through a lottery. To test the ecological validity of our findings, we relate farmers' behavior in the experiment to their level of cooperation in their community organization. We show that deference to authority in the controlled setting predicts cooperative behavior in the farmers' natural environment, in which they face a similar social dilemma.

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Manekin, D, Grossman G, Mitts T.  2017.  Contested Ground: Disentangling Material and Symbolic Attachment to Disputed Territory. Working paper. AbstractAppendixManuscript

A large literature argues that territorial disputes are prone to conflict because of the value of territory to publics, whether due to its strategic and material worth, or to its intangible, symbolic value. Yet despite the implications of the distinction for both theory and policy, empirically disentangling the material from the symbolic has posed a formidable methodological challenge. We propose a set of tools for assessing the nature of individual territorial attachment, drawing on a series of survey experiments in Israel. Our empirical analysis illustrates how the distribution of territorial preferences in the domestic population can have powerful implications for conflict and its resolution.