Kampala City Charter


  1. General information
  2. Data collected
  3. Questions
  4. Outputs

General information

Together with Macartan Humphreys and Ana Garcia-Hernandez we coordinated a large field experiment in Kampala, Uganda, between July 2019 and December 2022. The goal was to assist the Kampala Capital City Authority in eliciting citizen preferences over core elements of the design of an upcoming Citizen Charter for Kampala: a document enshrining rights and responsibilities citizens and local administration have toward each other.

Being present at the creation of a new institution allowed us to carefully structure a process of opinion aggregation that helped us capture how preferences and actions are converted into political decisions. In this way we could better grasp how political inequality is generated as part of a decision-making process.

Data collected

Together with our implementing partners on the ground, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) Uganda, we managed multiple rounds of data collection:

  1. A city-wide in-person representative survey of ~ 2,300 Kampala residents in Summer 2019, who were asked about their preferences about Charter design, along with a host of political attitudes and views on the local administration
  2. Two thirds of participants (~1,500 respondents) were randomized to attend a set of 188 consultative meetings at the local level (Fall-Winter 2019). The goal woof the meetings was to collect additional perspectives from citizens, and to make collective decisions about the Charter. Half of these meetings were randomly assigned to be led by a local bureaucrat, while the other half were led by a IPA Uganda staff member. Information was collected on participants’ actions during the meetings (length of speech, interruptions, times spoken), as well as after the meetings, on whether / how much their preferences had changed
  3. A short survey of discussion leaders’ (both IPA staff members or bureaucrats) preferences for Charter design prior to the meetings
  4. A phone-based midline survey in Summer 2020 with all respondents (both meeting participants and control sample) about 6 months after meetings concluded, assessing meeting experiences (for participants) and preference change
  5. A phone-based survey of attitudes toward the local bureaucracy of village (LC1) chairpersons in Fall 2020
  6. An in-person endline survey of all respondents in Fall 2022, assessing preference change, political attitudes, and views toward the local administration (obtained both directly and through unobtrusive methods, i.e. a vignette experiment)


The extensive information gathering allowed us to tackle a host of questions:

  1. How much inequality exists in citizen efforts to shape decisions at these meetings? To what extent are these disparities in efforts underpinned by divergent preferences over the outcome?
  2. To what extent are discussion leaders’ preferences driving meeting outcomes?
  3. How much inequality in inputs (preferences and actions during the meetings) is ultimately converted into inequality in outputs (decisions)?


If this lengthy introduction nevertheless left you wanting to find out more about the project, here are a few relevant outputs and documents with more information:

  1. The original pre-analysis plan and multiple amendments related to the data collection process
  2. A policy brief with initial results from the consultative meetings, written for one of our funders: the International Growth Centre
  3. A first draft of a longer research paper on links between the input, responsiveness and output dimensions of political inequality
  4. A 2023 presentation at the Department of Political Science, CEU Vienna, with updated results on linkages between dimensions of political inequality

The project was funded through generous grants from the International Growth Centre’s Cities initiative, Columbia University, the WZB Social Science Center Berlin, as well as an anonymous foundation.

In case you want to hear more about the project, we’d be happy to share more information!