Human Geography seminar series: Local institutions, risk and sharing in the context of migration

18 March 2014, 4.00 PM - 18 March 2014, 4.00 PM

Seminar Room 1, School of Geographical Sciences, University Road, Bristol, BS8 1SS


Dr Peter Van der Windt, Columbia University


In much of the developing world, households dependent upon sharing within the village to mitigate risk, and local institutions such as the village chief play an important role in daily life. High levels of migration into rural villages is another characteristic of the developing world, and classic literatures suggest that this endangers within-village sharing. Using a set of innovative experiments in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), this paper explores sharing behaviors between natives and migrants at the village level, and the role of local institutions on such within-village sharing. Conscious of the risks posed by migrants and to avoid exploitation by local institutions, international actors are another important actor at the village level and often bypass or actively undermine local institutions. Using experimental variation and a downstream experiment, this study finds causal evidence that 1) local institutions are resilient to outside intervention, and that 2) local institutions, and not international actors, are important in sustaining native-migrant sharing. These results are corroborated by a large survey conducted in over 600 villages throughout Eastern Congo. This study challenges the basis for current international interventions, and provides scarce micro-level evidence for the important role local institutions play in divided society in areas where the state is weak.

Chaired by Dr Ann Laudati

Refreshments will follow, all welcome

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