Does Information Break the Political Resource Curse? Experimental Evidence from Mozambique
Pedro C. Vicente
- American Economic Review (Forthcoming)
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 rentseeking.
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