Using three waves of survey data from fishing villages in Aceh, Indonesia for 2005-09, we examine the determinants of local volunteer labor after the tsunami. Volunteer labor is the village public sector labor force for maintenance, clean-up and renovation of public capital. While also examining the effects on volunteerism of village destruction and trauma, pre-existing social capital, diversity, and aid delivery, we focus on effects of democratization. The tsunami and massive international aid effort prompted the settlement of the insurgency movement in Aceh, which had led to suspension of local elections over the prior twenty or more years. Until 2006, village heads who call volunteer days were effectively selected by village elites, who may highly value the public facilities maintained by volunteer labor. With elections, volunteer days fall under the new regime, with democratically elected village heads calling fewer volunteer days, which may appeal more to the typical villager. Identification comes from pseudo-randomized differential timing of elections.
Freire, T., Henderson, J. V., & Kuncoro, A. (2017). Volunteerism after the tsunami: The effects of democratization. World Bank Economic Review, 31(1), 176–195. https://doi.org/10.1093/wber/lhv036