Collective Action, Clientelism and Connectivity
AbstractBacked by a range of studies finding only limited propensity for free-riding when communities have an interest in self provision, the last few decades have seen a surge of interest in community based development amongst international organisations. A major caveat to the ‘second wave’ of collective action studies, however, is that collective action will often break down under hierarchical social relationships. This is unfortunate news for rural societies in developing countries, as these are often entrenched in patron-client networks. And while studies of collective action under clientelism are in short supply, the few that exist are generally pessimistic. This paper argues, however, that clientelist relations are highly context-specific, which matters a great deal for their implications for collective action. Making use of a natural experiment in rural Punjab, Pakistan, the paper finds that the unequal relationship between landlords and peasants does not, in and by itself, block peasant collective action. Rather, it is the interaction between clientelism and isolation that allow patrons to block community based projects. Despite still relying on powerful landlords, peasants in connected villages face no such constraints. On the contrary, their patrons assisted them in their collective endeavours, making the hierarchical network an added resource for peasants to rely upon.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics in its series IFRO Working Paper with number 2010/14.
Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Collective action; Clientelism; Interlinked markets; Rural road networks; Pakistan;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- O18 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGR-2010-11-13 (Agricultural Economics)
- NEP-ALL-2010-11-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-CWA-2010-11-13 (Central & Western Asia)
- NEP-SOC-2010-11-13 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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