Strongmen or Technocrats? A Conjoint Experiment Testing Leadership Preferences in Afghanistan

Speaker: Jasmine Bhatia

This event is part of our CESS Colloquium series Abstract: New democracies beset by political violence often opt for political settlements that draw informal power brokers and former combatants into formal leadership positions. However, there is little empirical evidence about how these political settlements are viewed by the public, and to what extent they may impact the political legitimacy of the state. Drawing from an original dataset from Afghanistan, this study uses conjoint analysis to estimate leadership preferences in three provinces. The findings suggest that, contrary to prevailing beliefs about the appeal of traditional leaders or military strongmen, Afghans strongly prefer leaders who are young and highly educated.