Why are citizens more likely to comply with requests for action from some forms of political authority over others? Is a citizen's willingness to comply or resist shaped by partisanship, political alienation, or other sociological factors? The West African Ebola crisis demonstrated the importance of understanding the answers to these questions as national and international actors struggled to comprehend resistance to containment and control procedures. To understand dynamics influencing resistance to different types of authority, we use a survey-based experiment in two prefectures of Guinea to assess the how citizens respond to public health advisories issued by different national and local leaders. We find that individuals who are members of politically excluded ethnic groups express lower levels of trust in central government institutions and report a greater willingness to comply with local leaders' demands. These individuals also express greater levels of dissatisfaction with the response to the Ebola crisis and skepticism of international organizations. By contrast, individuals who are not members of excluded groups report greater levels of trust, greater willingness to comply overall, and greater levels of satisfaction with the response to the Ebola crisis. Our findings not only demonstrate important heterogeneity in citizen compliance! with government demands for action, but also suggest important lessons for using different authorities to mobilize target populations.
About Allison Grossman
Allison Grossman is a PhD Student in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. She studies international relations and comparative politics, with a geographic focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. She is interested in the relationship between citizens and their governments in states that are often thought of as weak, and the ways non-state actors can affect this relationship. Before coming to Berkeley, she worked at the Center for Global Development and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea. She holds a bachelors degree in Political Science and Human Rights Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University.