Does Information Break the Political Resource Curse? Experimental Evidence from Mozambique

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Abstract

Natural resources can have a negative impact on the economy through corruption and civil conflict. This paper tests whether information can counteract this political resource curse. We implement a large-scale field experiment following the dissemination of information about a substantial natural gas discovery in Mozambique. We measure outcomes related to the behavior of citizens and local leaders through georeferenced conflict data, behavioral activities, lab-in-the-field experiments, and surveys. We find that information targeting citizens and their involvement in public deliberations increases local mobilization and decreases violence. By contrast, when information reaches only local leaders, it increases elite capture and rent-seeking.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

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