Past Event


Local institutions and Cooperation in the Presence of Migration: Evidence from the Democratic Republic of Congo

20 March 2014 13:00–14:30

Resource Centre, School of Global Studies, Arts Road, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9SJ

The fourth Conflict, Violence and Development seminar this term will be hosted jointly with the University of Sussex SAC and will be held in the Global Studies Resource Centre. Peter van der Windt presents his work in progress on ‘Local institutions and Cooperation in the Presence of Migration: Evidence from the Democratic Republic of Congo’.

Households in the developing world depend on cooperation within the village to mitigate risk, yet the literature suggests that such cooperation is endangered by high levels of rural migration. Using a set of innovative experiments in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the seminar paper explores cooperative behaviours between natives and migrants at the village level, and the role of local institutions on such within-village cooperation.

Conscious of the risks posed by migrants and to avoid exploitation by local despots, international actors 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 cooperation. 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.

About the Speaker:

Peter van der Windt is in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University, and a Graduate Fellow at the Earth Institute and at Columbia’s CSDS. Peter’s research explores the impact, determinants and role of governance structures in areas where the state is weak. A recent project explored relations between rural migration and cooperation, in Central Africa, based on 18 months fieldwork in the DRC. His research in Congo’s South Kivu province utilised mobile phones to map local events in real time from hard to reach conflict areas.

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