Connections, Gender, and Access to State-Facilitated Private-Sector Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Senegal

Thursday, April 13, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
Hybrid Event
Dodd Center for Human Rights - Room 162

About This Workshop:

The Business and Human Rights Workshop is dedicated to the development and discussion of works-in-progress and other non-published academic research. 

In developing countries, access to opportunities within the private sector are often unequally distributed. Disproportionate advantages may accrue to those with connections to the state or to those with higher social standing. In this paper, I causally estimate the impact of political and social determinants of access to private-sector development under unevenly enforced rule of law. I do so by implementing a field experiment in Senegal in which I operate a registered business and randomize political connections and gender during entrepreneurs’ applications for valuable business permits at municipal councils. I find that politically connected applicants deal with fewer steps in the application process and are more likely to successfully deposit an application. Women, by contrast, are more likely to have their applications rejected, despite following the same procedures as men. These results highlight the specific steps along the institutional pathway where political and social connections are most influential, and offer causal evidence to inform policy to reduce the barriers facing entrepreneurs in developing countries.


Abhit Bhandari
Department of Political Science
Temple University

This workshop will take place in-person and on Zoom and will not be recorded. Please register to attend.

This event is hosted by the Business & Human Rights Initiative, a partnership between Dodd Human Rights Impact, the UConn School of Business, and the Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute. It is co-sponsored by the Research Program on Economic & Social Rights.