Three Facets of Political Inequality: Evidence From Consultative Processes in Kampala

About this Session


Fri. 08.04. 11:45



Speaker: Manuel Bosancianu , Co-Authors: Ana Garcia-Hernandez, Macartan Humphreys

Political inequality can take the form of gaps in citizens’ voice (input inequality), in the responsiveness of political systems (throughput inequality), and in how outcomes favor citizens differently (output inequality). We seek to disentangle these dimensions in a study of 188 citizen consultative meetings organized as part of the process to create a Citizens’ Charter in Kampala, Uganda. Such a design allows us to tightly control and measure opinions and behaviors at all stages of this small-scale political process, while minimizing self-selection issues. Exploiting random assignment into meetings and meeting structures, as well as data on pre-meeting preferences, meeting participation, and collective outcomes, we find clear evidence of input inequality, with, for instance, men and Luganda speakers engaging at significantly higher rates. We also find some evidence of throughput inequality—the views of discussion leaders have a strong influence on the outputs of discussions, though the city authority is largely even-handed in whose preferences get heard. Lastly, and most optimistically, we also find there is little evidence of output inequality, at least in terms of the representation of views. Analysis of a structural model suggests outcomes can be explained by a contestation function in which citizen’s “power” is a function of gender and wealth. The results highlight the independence of dimensions as well as the scope for ensuring equitable outputs despite inequalities in inputs.