Leadership and sustainability of community based development projects

  • Stryjan, Miri (PI)
  • Deserranno, Erika E. (CoPI)

Project Details


Leader characteristics and representativeness are widely believed to affect the performance of political entities and organizations. Numerous studies also put forward links between electoral rules and policy outcomes. In this BSF funded research program, we combine these two facts by studying both the role played by electoral rules for selecting leaders with certain characteristics, and how leader characteristics impact on the quality of policy outcomes, both in the context of community-based savings and loans groups in Uganda. A randomized control trial-methodology introduces exogenous variation in both electoral rules and resulting leader characteristics, allowing us to draw causal conclusions. Our main findings read as follows: (i) Secret ballot voting leads to the election of poorer leaders as compared to election by public discussion. (ii) This affects the lending and dropout patterns from groups with poorer group members accessing loans in groups that used a secret ballot voting, and a larger share of poor members staying in those groups. (iii) Finally, we see no difference in quality between the group types, suggesting that poor borrowers, governed by more representative leaders, are no worse off than groups that elected richer leaders. Our findings offer insights into public good delivery that complement those from studies of national and district elections, and are highly policy relevant in a developing country context Where a considerable part of services is delivered in collaboration between external donors and community groups.

Effective start/end date1/01/16 → …


  • United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF)


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