Although institutions are believed to be key determinants of economic performance, there is limited evidence on how they can be successfully reformed. The most popular strategy to improve local institutions in developing countries is “community driven development” (CDD). This paper estimates the impact of a CDD program in post-war Sierra Leone using a randomized experiment and novel outcome measures. We find positive short-run effects on local public goods provision, but no sustained impacts on fund-raising, decision-making processes, or the involvement of marginalized groups (like women) in local affairs, indicating that CDD was ineffective at durably reshaping local institutions.
Casey, K.; Glennerster, R.; Jameel, A.L.; Miguel, E. Reshaping Institutions: Evidence on External Aid and Local Collective Action (IGC Working Paper). (2011) 41 pp.