GLD Working Papers

Caulking the Social Fabric: How National and Local Identities Promote Pro-Social Attitudes in European Diverse and Disadvantaged Neighborhoods

Peter Esaiasson and Jacob Sohlberg


This paper focuses on controversial but uncharted neighborhoods in European welfare states that feature in the general debate over alleged ‘no-go’ zones. The paper seeks to identify factors promoting pro-social attitudes among residents in these diverse and disadvantaged neighborhoods. We explore the extent to which identification with the neighborhood (local identity) and the nation-state (national identity) generates pro-social attitudes among residents. That is, to what extent is identification with the local or national communities related to social and institutional trust, as well as positive affects towards ethnic out-groups. This paper utilizes findings from an original panel survey of residents in two Swedish neighborhoods with high concentrations of immigrants. The findings suggest that identities are related to pro-social attitudes, but that local and national identities are distinct and have different consequences.

Choice and Choice Set in African Elections

Karen E. Ferree


This paper argues for a reorientation of how we think about ethnic voting, away from an exclusive focus on voters to one that links voter behavior to the supply side of candidates. It introduces the concept of choice set, or the set of choices a voter sees on the ballot on election day, and shows that the modal choice set in three legislative elections – Kenya (2007), Ghana (2008), and Uganda (2011) – is not the mixed co-ethnic/non-coethnic set assumed in much of the literature on ethnic voting in Africa. Most African voters in fact see ballots that consist of either all co-ethnics or no co-ethnics. These uniform choice sets constrain choice in ways that predetermine behavior. Moreover, breaking behavior into choice and choice set reveals that differences in prevalence rates of co-ethnic voting across cases is driven as much by the choices voters see on their ballots as the choices they make in the voting booth. Shifting from choice to choice set thus induces us to identify and theorize factors shaping electoral outcomes in Africa beyond those rooted in individual voter psychology: the entry decisions of candidates and parties, constituency boundaries, and the distribution of groups across geography.

Do Women Face a Different Standard? The Gender and Corruption Factors in the 2014 Presidential Elections in Malawi

Boniface Dulani, Lise Rakner, Lindsay Benstead, and Vibeke Wang


Incumbency advantage is a key characteristic of African politics. Since the reintroduction of multiparty elections in 1994, corruption has been a persistent feature of the various administrations in Malawi. From this perspective, the incumbent president Joyce Banda of the People’s Party’s (PP) loss of the presidency after two years in office is a puzzling outcome of the 2014 elections. The paper explores why the incumbency advantage did not accrue to Banda, drawing from national public opinion surveys and focus group discussions conducted after the 2014 elections. We argue that, while faced with a major corruption scandal, ‘Cashgate’, Banda paid a heavier price than male incumbents facing corruption scandals before her. Her electoral fate is consistent with studies demonstrating that women holding political offices are scrutinized more than men and, when they transgress female gender stereotypes of incorruptibility, they are judged to a higher standard.

Creating Coexistence: Intergroup Contact and Soccer in Post-ISIS Iraq

Salma Mousa


Can intergroup contact build social cohesion after war? I answer this question by randomly assigning Iraqi Christians displaced by ISIS either to an all-Christian soccer team or to a team mixed with Muslims. I find persistent changes to behaviors toward Muslim peers: Christians with Muslim teammates are more likely to sign up for a mixed soccer team in the future (12 pp., p < 0.08), vote for a Muslim player (not on their team) to receive a sportsmanship award (16 pp., p < 0.01), and train with Muslims six months after the intervention ends (34 pp., p < 0.01). Players on mixed teams are also more likely to believe that coexistence is possible (63 SDs., p < 0.01). These results seem to be driven by changing norms around social contact as well as a positive experience, with top-performing teams being more likely to patronize a restaurant in Muslim-dominated Mosul. Contact was less effective, however, at shifting generalized tolerance toward Muslim strangers. These findings point to the potential for meaningful social contact to build coexistence after conflict — even if underlying prejudice remains unchanged.

Do Female Local Councilors Improve Women’s Representation?

Lindsay J. Benstead


Tunisia’s 2018 municipal elections, in which a legislated quota was implemented and women won 47 percent of seats, raises questions about whether electing female councilors improves women’s representation in clientelistic settings. Using data from the Local Governance Performance Index (LGPI), an original survey of 3,600 Tunisians conducted in 2015 by the Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD), this paper investigates the relationship between local councilors’ gender and women’s access to help with personal or community issues. Three findings emerge. First, male citizens are thirteen percentage points more likely to know a local councilor and six percentage points more likely to have contacted a councilor for help. Second, citizens of both genders are twice as likely to contact a councilor of the same gender when asking for help with community problems. Finally, electing females increases women’s access to councilors, due to network homosociality—that is, denser personal networks with others of the same gender—but has a limited impact on men’s access because female councilors have more hetersocial networks. By showing that electing and appointing women improves service and allocation responsiveness to females, the results call attention to the need to address gender equity issues when drafting electoral laws and implementing decentralization laws.