Volunteerism After the Tsunami: Democratization and Aid

Tiago Freire • Vernon Henderson • Ari Kuncoro
Kertas Kerja LPEM FEB UI • Agustus 2011 Indonesia


Using three waves of survey data from fishing villages in Aceh, Indonesia for 2005-2009, we examine the determinants of local volunteer labor after the tsunami. Pre-existing social capital and the form of aid delivery (but not trauma) strongly affect village volunteerism initially, but these effects weaken with time. What persists is the effect of essentially a new institution, formal village elections. While recent work suggests democratization increases cooperation, the differentially timed introduction of elections negatively affects volunteerism, suggesting a regime switch effect where traditional leaders chosen by elites want more volunteer labor projects than democratically elected leaders do.


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