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IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Economics Work In Progress Seminar Series

Interest-Based Negotiation over Natural Resources: Experimental Evidence from Liberia

Alessandro Toppeta (UCL), joint with Alexandra Hartman, Darin Christensen and Cyrus Samii

Thursday 27 May 2021 13:00 - 14:00

Due to the onging coronavirus outbreak, many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as online seminars. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.


About this event

Over the last two decades, developing countries have seen a sharp increase in external demand for land and other natural resources. Despite hopes that these outside investments would spur local development, host communities often feel short-changed by these deals, which some describe as “land grabs.” We experimentally study whether an interest-based negotiation (IBN) training for community leaders in Liberia improves their ability to realize beneficial agreements and forego detrimental deals, related to their land and forests. In incentivized simulations, we find that trainees are 27% more likely to reach a profitable agreement, and when they conclude deals, their payoffs are 37% larger. An exploratory analysis finds a reduction in the exploitation of forestland in trainees’ communities. Our mediation analysis and structural estimates both indicate that the treatment increases trainees’ capacity to identify positive-sum agreements and, to a lesser extent, enables them to better appraise their outside option and walk away from detrimental deals. We find important variation across sub-groups, which indicates that the training benefits individuals with greater access to education and land. We discuss how IBN trainings should be amended to avoid reinforcing these inequalities.

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS, STICERD, and UCL.

IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Economics Work In Progress seminars are held on Thursdays in term time at 13:00-14:00, ONLINE, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar organisers: Oriana Bandiera (STICERD, LSE), Imran Rasul (UCL), Britta Augsburg (IFS) and Jonathan Weigel (LSE).

For further information please contact Lubala Chibwe, either by email: l.chibwe@lse.ac.uk.

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