October 06, 2015
News /
Posted by NCID

Alex Armand, researcher at the Navarra Center for International Development will be conducting a research experiment on natural resources in Mozambique, titled ‘On the mechanics of the political resource curse: information and local elite behaviour in Mozambique'. The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) will fund the project that will be jointly executed by Pedro Vicente of Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Novafrica) and Alex Armand at the NCID.

This research will analyzes how the flow of information about recent natural gas reserve discoveries in the Royuna basin might affect elite behaviour and citizens’ expectations. While the discoveries signal large opportunities, Mozambique maintains high levels of poverty and corruption.

The intervention itself will be sponsored and implemented by a team of NGOs, led by the freely-distributed newspaper Verdade. These implementing agencies strongly believe that the resource curse can be counteracted through the widespread provision of information about the management of natural resources in the country. Behind this belief is the hypothesis that information will make politicians accountable through the electoral system.

The project will collect data from more than 200 communities via a randomized control trial methodology. The experimental project will test whether the distribution of information via Verdade has impacts in demand for transparency in the natural resources sector. This line of inquiry is encouraged by recent research from several development economists, including Vicente, that highlights information as being integral in individual voting habits and opinions of public officials. The project’s “Theory of Change” targets this as potentially providing evidence for policies that can improve transparency and governance.

International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) is an international grant-making NGO that promotes evidence-informed development policies and programmes. Its three main sources of funding are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UKaid, through the Department of International Development, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


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