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About the Talk

In many developing countries, non-state actors are important sources of basic social services, including those with religious or political affiliations. Do politicized ethnoreligious divisions shape citizen choices of providers? Does the quality of care vary depending on whether patients visit ingroup or outgroup facilities? Building on studies of the “diversity deficit” and research on outgroup generosity, we focus on how the relationship between frontline service providers and citizens affects the quality of services. Among facilities run by religious organizations, citizens largely select into ingroup providers, and report distinct reasons for the rare instances of choosing outgroup versus ingroup centers. Furthermore, when visiting outgroup facilities, service quality is inferior. The data are derived from original surveys of a nationally representative sample of health centers in Lebanon, a country with politicized identity cleavages and diverse types of welfare providers.

About the Speaker:

Melani Cammett is Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs in the Department of Government and chair of the Harvard Academy of International and Area Studies at Harvard. She also holds a secondary faculty appointment in the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. Cammett’s books include Compassionate Communalism: Welfare and Sectarianism in Lebanon (Cornell University Press 2014), which won the American Political Science Association (APSA) Giovanni Sartori Book Award and the Honorable Mention for the APSA Gregory Luebbert Book Award; A Political Economy of the Middle East (co-authored with Ishac Diwan, Westview Press 2015); The Politics of Non-State Social Welfare in the Global South (co-edited with Lauren Morris MacLean, Cornell University Press, 2014), which received the Honorable Mention for the ARNOVA book award; and Globalization and Business Politics in North Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2007). Her current research explores governance and social service provision, identity politics and long-term historical roots of development trajectories, primarily in the Middle East. Cammett has published numerous articles in academic and policy journals, consults for development policy organizations, and is the recipient of various fellowships and awards. She currently serves as a Commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Syria.