Project Research Theme 5: Political Economy and Public Investment, Cross-Cutting Issue 3: Inequality and Inclusion

On the Political Economy of Urbanization: A Natural and Two Field Experiments Around the 2023 Local Elections in Mozambique

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  • Larger Research Grants

The project, led by the Associação NOVAFRICA para o Desenvolvimento Empresarial e Económico de Moçambique (NOVAFRICA) in Mozambique, aims to study the political economy of urbanization in low-income countries. The rapid increase in the populations of African cities due to rural-urban migration presents a major challenge for economic development and for urban management. This project proposes to investigate how local leaders' behavior and citizens are influenced by factors such as local elections, public policies aimed at integrating rural migrants into the city, and information campaigns about public goods provision in the city.

The project will employ a unique natural experiment and two field experiments in the city of Quelimane (Mozambique) , a relatively small city experiencing influxes of rural migrants, and thus presenting an ideal setting for the study. First, focusing on the border of the municipality with the surrounding districts of Inhassunge and Nicoadala, we will first use a regression discontinuity design to compare the behavior of local leaders in areas that had a history of local elections with areas that did not have any local elections in temporal proximity with the 2023 local elections. We will work with a large set of local leaders including political leaders, block-level leaders, leaders of local associations, and religious leaders. Second, the project will also make use of two ongoing field experiments. The first experiment will study the impact of an integration intervention sponsored by the municipality, which consists of coaching recent rural migrants arriving in the city. The second experiment will test the impact of an information campaign by the municipality of Quelimane on public good provision and willingness to pay local taxes.

The project aims to provide novel evidence on the mechanisms characterizing the political economy of urbanization in Africa, contributing to a better understanding of economic development in low-income countries. The project will also have policy impacts by informing policymakers about the factors that influence local leaders' behavior and promoting the integration of rural migrants into the city.

Larger Research Grants

Closed • Deadline • Larger Research Grants

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