(Nova School of Business and Economics)
will give a presentation on
The political resource curse is the idea that natural resources can lead to the deteriorationof public policies through corruption and rent-seeking by those closest to political power. Oneprominent consequence is the emergence of conflict. This paper takes this theory to the datafor the case of Mozambique, where a substantial discovery of natural gas recently took place.Focusing on the anticipation of a resource boom and the behavior of local political structuresand communities, a large-scale field experiment was designed and implemented to follow thedissemination of information about the newly-discovered resources. Two types of treatmentsprovided variation in the degree of dissemination: one with information targeting only localpolitical leaders, the other with information and deliberation activities targeting communitiesat large. A wide variety of theory-driven outcomes is measured through surveys, behavioralactivities, lab-in-the-field experiments, and georeferenced administrative data about local con-flict. Information given only to leaders increases elite capture and rent-seeking, while infor-mation and deliberation targeted at citizens increases mobilization and accountability-relatedoutcomes, and decreases violence. While the political resource curse is likely to be in play,the dissemination of information to communities at large has a countervailing effect.