Macartan Humphreys presents three facets of political inequality: evidence from consultative processes in Kampala

WIDER Seminar Series

Macartan Humphreys presents three facets of political inequality: evidence from consultative processes in Kampala

Macartan Humphreys will present at the WIDER Seminar Series on 6 April 2022.


Political inequality can take the form of gaps in citizens’ voice (input inequality), in the responsiveness of political systems (throughput inequality), and in how outcomes favor citizens differently (output inequality). We seek to disentangle these dimensions of political inequality in a study of 188 citizen consultative meetings that took place as part of Kampala’s Citizens’ Charter process. Exploiting random assignment into meetings and meeting structures as well as data on pre-meeting preferences, meeting participation, and collective outcomes, we find clear evidence of input inequality, notably along gender lines, some evidence of throughput inequality—also on gender lines—but little evidence of substantial output inequality. Analysis of a structural model suggests outcomes can be explained by a contestation function in which citizen’s ‘power’ is a function of gender and wealth. The results highlight the independence of dimensions as well as the scope for ensuring equitable outputs despite inequalities in inputs.

About the speaker

Macartan Humphreys is director of the research unit Institutions and Political Inequality at the WZB and a professor of Political Science at Columbia University. His research combines experimental approaches, survey research and formal theory to study the political economy of development, governance, and conflict processes. Ongoing field experiments focus on political accountability in Congo and Uganda. Macartan has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and has authored or coauthored books on ethnic politics, natural resource politics, and game theory. He sits on the editorial board of the American Political Science Review and PSRM. He is a founding member of the Experiments in Governance and Politics network and former President of the APSA Experiments section. He holds a B.A. in history and political science from Trinity College Dublin (1994), an M.Phil. in economics from Oxford (2000), and an A.M. and Ph.D. in government from Harvard University (1998, 2003).

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases the latest research on key topics in development economics. It provides a forum for senior and early-career researchers, both in-house and external, to present recent and ongoing work related to UNU-WIDER’s current work programme.

In addition to providing a forum for both academic debate and training, the series presents an opportunity for policy makers and others interested in development to learn about the latest research methods and findings.

In spring 2021, the Seminar Series events take place on Wednesdays. All those interested are invited to register and attend via Zoom.