Assistant Professor of Economics
University of Maryland
Raymond Guiteras will present a recent paper addressing two inter-related questions: First, does aid potentially worsen development outcomes in the long run by reducing politicians’ accountability and allowing bad leaders to persist in office? Second, do voters attribute the effects of random shocks to the actions of politicians?
Guiteras will examine these questions in the context of a large-scale randomized intervention in rural Bangladesh that provided information on the importance of sanitation and, in randomly chosen neighborhoods, subsidies for sanitation improvements. He finds that the randomized intervention induced politicians to expend more effort to distinguish themselves from other leaders, thus benefitting constituents. Furthermore, the intensive information campaign created greater accountability, as the constituents became more informed about the communal sanitation needs, and the associated responsibilities of community leaders.
*Following the move to our new home, CGD has renamed the Massachusetts Avenue Development Seminar series the CGD Invited Research Forum. Now in its thirteenth year, the series brings some of the world's leading development scholars to discuss their new research and ideas. The presentations meet an academic standard of quality and are at times technical, but retain a focus on a mixed audience of researchers and policymakers. For more on the history of the series, check out this blog by Michael Clemens.