Andrea Colombo, Ilan Tojerow, 07 March 2021

Decentralisation can help build trust in institutions by giving constituents a more transparent view of local decision makers and a hand in shaping public services. This column examines the impact of reforms that introduced the direct election of mayors to a region of Belgium in which mayors also lead the local police force. The region saw a statistically significant decrease in crime following the reform, but those effects were diluted when neighbouring municipalities shared policing responsibilities, thereby obscuring the window onto outcomes and offsetting the benefits of direct elections.

Amrita Dhillon, Pramila Krishnan, Manasa Patnam, Carlo Perroni, 11 November 2016

The ‘curse’ of natural resources on economic development has been well documented, but there is no consensus on its underlying causes. Exploiting the formation of new Indian states in 2001, this column shows that the effects of state breakup on local economies differ systematically across natural resource-rich and resource-poor areas, in line with the spatial distribution of natural resources within states. The relationship between resource abundance and economic outcomes flows, at least in part, through a political channel.

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