Population and Economic Recovery in Coastal Aceh: Aid and Village Institutions

Collaborators: Andrew Foster, Glenn C. Loury
Research Theme: Development, Institutions and Demographic Change
Location: Republic of Indonesia
Funding: NICHD

This project focuses on coastal villages in post-tsunami Indonesia, examining the ability of local political leaders to carry out public projects through “volunteer work days.” It uses a panel data set containing rich detail on local economic and political institutions, interaction of villages with external institutions, population change, and trauma suffered. Pre-existing social capital, the number of aid projects and the method of aid delivery all strongly affect village volunteerism in 2007, but many effects weakened by 2009. Formal village elections, which replaced traditional leaders, have a persistent negative effect on volunteerism. The project brings together U.S. and Indonesian experts on issues of community development, health, the environment, political economy, and inequality. A key element is to evaluate the impact of external aid and the form of aid delivery on local behaviors, networks and institutions, as well as long-term growth and inequality.