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Solidarity Norms and Institutions in Village Societies: Static and Dynamic Considerations

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  • Platteau, Jean-Philippe

Abstract

The purpose of this essay is to argue that process-regarding preferences or social norms are pervasive in traditional village communities, yet are subject to gradual erosion under the influence of new forces, particularly population growth and market penetration. This is illustrated with respect to norms regarding the allocation of locally controlled natural resources, such as land, forest, pastures and water spaces. As a matter of fact, a communal system of land rights, together with the accompanying set of norms and preferences, is conceivable only under conditions of high land-man ratios resulting in extensive land use patterns. When land becomes intensively exploited, the efficiency costs of equity-oriented arrangements increase significantly. On the other hand, informal insurance arrangements relying on voluntary state-contingent transfers tend to be less effective under the pressure of market integration and the emergence of alternative income-earning opportunities accessible to at least a segment of rural populations.

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This chapter was published in:

  • S. Kolm & Jean Mercier Ythier (ed.), 2006. "Handbook of the Economics of Giving, Altruism and Reciprocity," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1, 00.
    This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism with number 1-12.

    Handle: RePEc:eee:givchp:1-12

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description

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    Cited by:
    1. D’Exelle, Ben & Lecoutere, Els & Van Campenhout, Bjorn, 2012. "Equity-Efficiency Trade-Offs in Irrigation Water Sharing: Evidence from a Field Lab in Rural Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(12), pages 2537-2551.
    2. Mitrut, Andreea & Nordblom, Katarina, 2010. "Social norms and gift behavior: Theory and evidence from Romania," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 998-1015, November.
    3. Sylvain Dessy & Gaston Gohou & Désiré Vencatachellum, 2012. "Foreign Direct Investments in Africa's Farmlands: Threat or Opportunity for Local Populations?," Cahiers de recherche 1203, CIRPEE.
    4. Bloch, Francis & Genicot, Garance & Ray, Debraj, 2008. "Informal insurance in social networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 36-58, November.
    5. Clement, Floriane & Ishaq, Saba & Samad, Madar & Acharya, N. Sreedhar & Radha, A. Venkata & Haileslassie, A. & Blummel, M. & Dey, A. & Khan, M. A. & Shindey, D. N. & Mit, R., 2010. "Improving water productivity, reducing poverty and enhancing equity in mixed crop-livestock systems in the Indo-Gangetic Basin: CPWF project report 68," IWMI Books, Reports H043549, International Water Management Institute.

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