Program on Political Economy Seminar


Thursday, October 10, 2019, 4:30pm to 5:45pm


Hansen/Mason Room (3rd floor lounge), Littauer Center

Today's presenter: Ernesto Dal Bo (Berkeley), "Government Decentralization Under Changing State Capacity: Experimental Evidence from Paraguay" (with Fred Finan, Nicholas Li and Laura Schechter)

All interested faculty and students are invited to attend. 

Abstract: Standard models of hierarchy assume that agents and middle managers are better informed than principals about how to implement a particular task. We estimate the value of the informational advantage held by supervisors – middle managers – when ministerial leadership – the principal – introduced a new monitoring technology aimed at improving the performance of agricultural extension agents (AEAs) in rural Paraguay. Our approach employs a novel experimental design that elicited  reatment-priority rankings from supervisors before randomization of treatment. We find that supervisors did have valuable information—they prioritized AEAs who would be more responsive to the monitoring treatment. We develop a model of monitoring under different allocation rules and roll-out scales (i.e., the share of AEAs to receive treatment). We semi-parametrically estimate marginal treatment effects (MTEs) to demonstrate that the value of information and the benefits to decentralizing treatment decisions depend crucially on the sophistication of the principal and on the scale of roll-out.

Co-sponsored by FAS and IQSS, the Program on Political Economy (PE) supports research-related activities that integrate the study of economics and politics, whether by studying economic behavior in the political process or political behavior in the marketplace. In general, positive political economy is concerned with showing how observed differences among institutions affect political and economic outcomes in various social, economic, and political systems and how the institutions themselves change and develop in response to individual and collective beliefs, preferences, and strategies. 

dal_bo-govt_decentralization.pdf471 KB