On the mechanics of the political resource curse: information and local elite behaviour in Mozambique

Last registered on April 23, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
On the mechanics of the political resource curse: information and local elite behaviour in Mozambique
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002493
Initial registration date
October 05, 2017

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 06, 2017, 12:04 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
April 23, 2021, 7:43 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Nova School of Business and Economics

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Universidade Nova de Lisboa and NOVAFRICA
PI Affiliation
Universidade Nova de Lisboa and NOVAFRICA
PI Affiliation
Universidade Nova de Lisboa and NOVAFRICA

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2016-07-01
End date
2018-12-31
Secondary IDs
TW8R2/1008
Abstract
Mozambique discovered substantial natural resources in recent years. Known gas reserves in the Rovuma basin have the potential to transform Mozambique into a global player in Liquefied Natural Gas exports. Being a recent democracy, and with relatively weak institutions, Mozambique also faces considerable risks of resource and revenue mismanagement in the future, particularly since media independence and penetration are low and the level of political accountability is not improving. This RCT aims at understanding the effect of the distribution of information about the newly discovered natural gas in the Rovuma basin (Cabo Delgado Province) and about natural resources in general, and the effect of holding of citizen meetings to deliberate on the main priorities for spending the revenues from these resources, on the behaviour of villagers living in the Province.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Armand, Alex et al. 2021. "On the mechanics of the political resource curse: information and local elite behaviour in Mozambique." AEA RCT Registry. April 23. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2493
Former Citation
Armand, Alex et al. 2021. "On the mechanics of the political resource curse: information and local elite behaviour in Mozambique." AEA RCT Registry. April 23. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2493/history/90303
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The intervention we are evaluating consists on a large information and deliberation campaign about the discovery of natural resources in the Province of Cabo Delgado, focusing on the recent natural gas discoveries. In collaboration with our partners, we randomly allocated 200 communities to one of the following groups:
A. Control Group
B. Information provided to the Local Elite
C. Information provided to the Local Elite and the Citizens
D. Information provided to the Local Elite and the Citizens plus Deliberation

In the group D), the participants to the deliberation activity are divided into groups and each group is randomly allocated to one of the following voting procedure: raising hands; secret vote; no restrictions imposed on voting.
Intervention Start Date
2017-02-28
Intervention End Date
2017-04-03

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Aspirations, Demand for political accountability, Information, Social capital, Trust, Attitudes towards Public Goods, Attitudes towards Rent-Seeking, Attitudes towards Corruption, Engagement with Local Leaders.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Trust, Attitudes towards Public Goods and Attitudes towards Rent-Seeking are measured using incentivized lab-in-the-field experiments (Dictator game, Trust game, Public good game, Rent-Seeking game) and a series of Structured Community Activities (SCAs).
Engagement with Local Leaders is measured with self-reported links with local leaders.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Consumption, Ownership of durable goods, Income and Assets, Political participation: turn-out and vote, Quality of deliberation process.

Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Political participation will be measured using administrative data post-2018 elections.
Quality of the deliberation process is measured from observation by the organizers of each deliberation group.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This study involves measuring outcomes at both the community and individual levels. Community-level outcomes are part of a single or one-level experimental design. Individual-level outcomes involve clustering at the community level and are considered through a two-level design.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Randomization is at polling station level.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
200 polling stations
Sample size: planned number of observations
2000 individuals + 200 village leaders
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
50 polling stations
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Scientific Council at Nova School of Business and Economics
IRB Approval Date
2015-10-23
IRB Approval Number
N/A
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
April 30, 2017, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
October 31, 2017, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
206 communities
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
2,065 heads of household
206 local leaders
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
50, 51, 50, and 55 communities in each treatment arm
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
Yes

Program Files

Program Files
Yes
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Abstract
Natural resources can have a negative impact on the economy through corruption and civil conflict. This paper tests whether information can counteract this political resource curse. We implement a large-scale field experiment following the dissemination of information about a substantial natural gas discovery in Mozambique. We measure outcomes related to the behavior of citizens and local leaders through georeferenced conflict data, behavioral activities, lab-in-the-field experiments, and surveys. We find that information targeting citizens and their involvement in public deliberations increases local mobilization and decreases violence. By contrast, when information reaches only local leaders, it increases elite capture and rent-seeking.
Citation
Armand, Alex, Alexander Coutts, Pedro C. Vicente, and Inês Vilela. 2020. "Does Information Break the Political Resource Curse? Experimental Evidence from Mozambique." American Economic Review, 110 (11): 3431-53.

Reports & Other Materials