Selecting better community leaders: Experimental evidence from Uganda


Published 18.12.19
Photo credit:
Denis Onyodi/URCS-Climate Centre

Should we select our community leaders through public discussion or secret ballot? Does it even matter which method we chose?

Audio file

Local groups often deliver financial and public services. Given this important role, how these groups are led and run has a profound impact on the lives of many of the poorest in the developing world. In this VoxDev talk, Miri Stryjan discusses an innovative experiment in Uganda that compared the effects of how leaders of community groups are chosen. The researchers found that when leaders are selected by secret ballot, they are more representative of the average socioeconomic standing of members, as compared to when selected through public discussion. Interestingly, which type of leader is elected has a huge impact on the outputs from the community group. When leaders are elected by secret ballot, accessibility to loans for the poorest is substantially higher.