Irma Clots Figueras (University Carlos III de Madrid)
"Leader Identity and Coordination Failure"
This paper investigates the role of leader identity in addressing coordination failure. It uses data from an artefactual field experiment and survey conducted in 44 towns in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, sampling individuals from among the minority Muslim and the majority Hindu communities. We find that Muslim leaders encourage greater coordination than Hindu leaders, consistent with in-group bias. We then investigate how coordination behaviour is influenced by affirmative action and cross-group contact interventions, allowing heterogeneity in intervention impact by the history of religious conflict in the town. We find that coordination improves when Muslims and Hindus work together in a pre-task contact game; and that this policy is most effective in conflict prone areas. On the other hand, an affirmative action policy that places Muslims in leadership positions decreases coordination in groups led by them, especially in high conflict areas.