Autocratic Policy and the Accumulation of Pro-social Norms: The Moscow Housing Renovation Program
Harris School of Public Policy (Visiting Associate Professor)
University of Chicago
Thursday, October 20, 2022
3:45 pm-5:00 pm
Taylor-Hibbard Seminar Room (Rm103)
Relying on original data from a survey of 1300 Muscovites, this paper explores the effect of complex and uncertain housing reform policy on the formation of pro-social norms and patterns of societal coordination. We argue that the demands for social interaction embedded in the structure of top-down policy prompted residents of included buildings to interact with other residents and state officials to understand the pro- gram, redress policy shortcomings, monitor changes, and organize for a house-level vote to secure benefits. Comparing a matched sample of residents living in buildings included and excluded from the program, we nd that these interactions led to changes in pro-social norms and increased coordination to support pro- community actions. Notably, we also find spillover effects of the housing renovation program on the activity related to pension reform and voting in local elections. Our findings show the effect of authoritarian policy on societal attitudes and behavior and contribute to theories of short- to medium-term accumulation of societal capacity to resolve collective action problems in response to autocratic policy initiatives.