Co-sponsored: International Relations Workshop
Abstract: Can the presence of white foreigners influence measured behavior in developing countries? We experimentally vary foreigner presence across behavioral games conducted in 60 communities in Sierra Leone, and assess its effect on standard measures of generosity. We find that foreigner presence substantially increases player contributions in dictator games, by as much as 23 percent. Using household and village survey data, we show that this treatment effect is larger for players who have a lower social status in their community, and in villages that have previously received little development aid. These results provide suggestive evidence that the observed behavioral change may arise from social incentives to impress someone of a higher perceived social status, as well as economic incentives to secure aid. Our findings hold implications for measuring generosity and the design and administration of behavioral experiments in developing countries.
Oeindrila Dube is an Assistant Professor in Politics and Economics at New York University. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard University, a M.Phil in Economics from the University of Oxford, and a B.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University. She also received the Rhodes Scholarship in 2002.
Dube’s research focuses on the political economy of conflict and development. One strand seeks to understand the economic causes and consequences of civil war. Focusing on Colombia, she has analyzed how international price shocks to agricultural and natural resource exports have affected civil war dynamics and assessed how U.S. military aid affects political violence and electoral outcomes. She has also investigated how armed conflict, in turn, affects economic activity such as firm investment. Her current work in this area also seeks to understand how changes in U.S. gun legislation have affected drug-war violence in Mexico, and how local-level reconciliation efforts affect poverty and violence in West Africa. A second strand of her research focuses on access to basic services in post-conflict nations. In this area, her current work uses randomized evaluation to examine how institutions and incentives, financial and non-financial, affect access to health services in Sierra Leone.
Last modified Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 7:27am