A Political Theory of Russian Orthodoxy: Evidence from Public Goods Experiments
45 Pages Posted: 28 May 2013
Date Written: May 27, 2013
In this paper, I test the effects of religious norms on the provision of public goods. My evidence is drawn from public goods experiments that I ran with regional bureaucrats in Tomsk and Novosibirsk, Russia. I introduce three treatments, which I define as degrees of Eastern Orthodox collectivist enforcement: 1. Solidarity, 2. Obedience, and 3. Universal discipline. I argue for the existence of an Eastern Orthodox hierarchy in the Russian bureaucracy that facilitates the delivery of public goods under conditions of universal discipline and the principal’s overfulfillment. Eastern Orthodox hierarchy is enforced through universal disciplinary monitoring, which induces collective punishment when the public good is not delivered. Contrary to conventional wisdom about freeriding in administrative institutions, higher ranks in Russian bureaucracies are associated with less freeriding.
Keywords: Public goods experiments, bureaucracy, enforcement, Russia, religion, incomplete information, hierarchy
JEL Classification: C91, C92, D72, D73, P21, P26, P32, P51, Z12
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