Chiefs: Economic Development and Elite Control of Civil Society in Sierra Leone
Author(s)Acemoglu, Daron; Reed, Tristan; Robinson, James A.
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We study the effect of constraints on chiefs' power on economic outcomes, citizens' attitudes, and social capital. A paramount chief in Sierra Leone must come from a ruling family originally recognized by British colonial authorities. In chiefdoms with fewer ruling families, chiefs face less political competition, and development outcomes are significantly worse today. Variation in the security of property rights over land is a potential mechanism. Paradoxically, with fewer ruling families, the institutions of chiefs' authority are more highly respected, and measured social capital is higher. We argue that these results reflect the capture of civil society organizations by chiefs.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Economics
Journal of Political Economy
University of Chicago Press, The
Acemoglu, Daron, Tristan Reed, and James A. Robinson. “Chiefs: Economic Development and Elite Control of Civil Society in Sierra Leone.” Journal of Political Economy 122, no. 2 (April 2014): 319–368. © 2014 The University of Chicago.
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