State Authority


To measure citizens’ perceptions towards dispute resolution service delivery in Pakistan.
There has been a marked change away from State Authority and towards a variety of non-state actors, often in the form of religious organisations, particularly throughout the Muslim World, over the last 30 or so years. There is concern that declining allegiance to state institutions is resulting in citizens assigning non-state actors “authority” to provide a range of public goods, including dispute resolution, enforcement of laws and norms, and redistributive activity (e.g. education, famine relief, insurance). An alternative explanation is that the shift in allegiance away from State Authority may be related to belief dynamics: bad behavior by state actors promotes lack of trust and respect by creating the belief that state institutions exist to exploit rather than provide public goods and order. The formation of these beliefs, in turn, induces citizens to shift allegiance from state to non-state authority when there is actual or perceived information that state actors are corrupt or misbehaving.

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Principal Investigators

Dr. Asim Khwaja, Harvard University

Dr. Ali Cheema, Lahore University of Management and Sciences

Dr. James Robinson, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago

Daron Acemoglu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Partners and Funders

Punjab Safe Cities Authority

Project Period:

2018 – Present

Final Report