Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Moore School of Business

First Advisor

Robert Gonzalez


Institutions play a key role in development and output. Much of the literature on institutions has looked at the effects of institutions on development and output rather than the effects of institutions on individual behavior. This dissertation explores the effect of institutional stimuli on individual behavior. The first study explores the effectiveness of grassroots monitoring as opposed to top-down monitoring as a means of deterring corruption. Using Olken (2007), we argue that the presence of effective top-down monitoring alternatives can actually undermine pro-social behavior among individuals by crowding out their incentives to monitor. We find that in villages with both an audit and grassroots monitoring, individuals are less likely to attend, talk, and actively participate in accountability meetings. Analyzing a purely grassroots versus a purely top-down monitoring strategy, we find that grassroots monitoring can be as effective as auditing in reducing missing expenditures when controlling for elite capture. The second study examines how police violence affects institutional trust. I find that 911 call volume in a police district decreases by about 11 calls after an officer-involved shooting in that district. For black victims in predominately black police beats, 911 call volume falls by about 18 calls after a shooting. Further analysis of this effect in both Chicago and at the national level suggests that the “shocks” to institutional trust while significant are short-lived and only affect confidence in the police or the justice system. I conclude with an examination of the particular salient fatal encounter where LaQuan McDonald died at the hands of police. I find that the release of the dash cam footage depicting McDonald’s death leads to persistent falls in daily 911 calls and CTA rides. The dash cam footage release also leads to an increase in police conducting investigatory stops, as well.

Included in

Economics Commons