God Insures Those Who Pay? Formal Insurance and Religious Offerings in Ghana.
Emmanuelle Auriol (Toulouse School of Economics, IAST)
Julie Lassebie (Toulouse School of Economics)
Amma Panin (Nuffield College, Oxford)
Eva Raiber (Toulouse School of Economics, IAST)
Paul Seabright (Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, TSE)

Abstract : This paper provides experimental support for the hypothesis that insurance can be a motive for religious donations by members of a Pentecostal church in Ghana. We randomize enrollment into a commercial funeral insurance policy, then church members allocate money between themselves and a set of religious goods in a series of dictator games with significant stakes. Members enrolled in insurance give significantly less money to their own church compared to members that only receive information about the insurance. Enrollment also reduces giving towards other spiritual goods. We set up a model exploring different channels of religiously based insurance. The implications of the model and the results from the dictator games suggest that adherents perceive the church as a source of insurance and that this insurance is derived from beliefs in an interventionist God. Survey results suggest that material insurance from the church community is also important and we hypothesize that these two insurance channels exist in parallel.

Price Information, Inter-village Networks, and “bargaining Spillovers”: Experimental Evidence from Ghana
Nicole Hildebrandt (Boston Consulting Group)
Yaw Nyarko (New York University)
Giorgia Romagnoli (University of Amsterdam)
Emilia Soldani (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Abstract : Via a randomized experiment paired with a novel index of inter-village communication net- works, we identify the impact of providing rural farmers with commodity price information delivered via text messages on their mobile phones. The intervention affected prices received by farmers in two ways: (1) a long-lasting increase of about 9% for treatment group farmers, and (2) substantial indirect benefits for certain control group farmers, which do not seem to be driven by classical informational spillovers. We discuss a novel mechanism of bargaining spillovers which can explain the rise of such positive externalities, even in the absence of information sharing between the treatment and control groups. Our results highlight the importance of accounting for longer-run spillovers. The direct return on investment of the service (over 200%) underscores the huge potential of ICT interventions in emerging markets.

The Interdependence of Culture and Institutions in Commons Management
Devesh Rustagi (University of Frankfurt)

Abstract : Growing evidence in economist suggests the importance of culture and institutions in commons management. However, previous studies have examined the effect of these factors in isolation. This paper examines the effect of the interaction between culture and institutions for successful forest commons management and the mechanisms through which these effects unfold. The forest management outcome is measured as the number of young trees per hectare. Culture is measured as the propensity to cooperate provided others do the same in a public goods game. Institutions are measured as rules regulating the number of months in a year livestock are forbidden to graze inside the forest and on the same spot. It is considered particularly important as livestock browsing of young trees directly affects their survival. I find that groups perform best when they have both stronger propensity for cooperation and formal rules regulating livestock grazing, but not when either of these two factors is considered in isolation. Several falsification tests confirm these results by showing that the effect holds only for young trees and not mature trees. Moreover, among young trees, the effect is observed only for broadleaf trees and not coniferous trees that are unpalatable to livestock. Experimental and survey data show that this interdependence is due to two reasons. First, institutions allowing cooperators to target and punish free riders, which results in optimistic beliefs about the cooperation of others. Second, cooperators are willing to overcome the second order free rider problem associated with the enforcement of institutions by spending much more time monitoring their forest.