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Andrés Felipe Rodríguez

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Graduate Student Research Funding | 2020 - 2021 Academic Year

The Caged Economy: Do Traditional Leaders Create Distortions Through Redistribution? Evidence From a Lab-in-the-Field Experiment in Sierra Leone

In sub-Saharan Africa, two types of political leaders co-exist at the local level: traditional leaders called Chiefs and democratic politicians. In this paper, Rodríguez challenges previous work that explains the underdevelopment of these regions by characterizing Chiefs as local autocrats that capture resources. Instead, he argues that by implementing highly redistributive policies, Chiefs can remain highly popular among citizens and simultaneously create distortions in the local economy. Rodríguez tests this theory using a lab-in-the-field experiment in Sierra Leone involving rural citizens and their real leaders. He also explores if taxation or redistributive social norms explain the presence of these distortions.

Andrés Felipe Rodríguez, Department of Economics

Andrés Felipe Rodríguez Martinez

Andrés is an economist focused on research and teaching in development, political economy, behavioral economics, and network economics. He is currently pursuing projects about behavioral traits of entrepreneurs in Colombia; NGOs, corporate philanthropy, and state capacity; and the social, political, and behavioral determinants of information demand.

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