Can good projects succeed in bad communities?
The lack of "social capital" is frequently given as an explanation for why communities perform poorly. Yet to what extent can project design compensate for these community-specific constraints? I address this question by examining determinants of collective success in a costly problem for developing economies -- the upkeep of local public goods. It is often difficult to obtain reliable outcome measures for comparable collective tasks across well-defined communities. In order to address this I conducted detailed surveys of community-maintained infrastructure projects in Northern Pakistan. The findings show that while community-specific constraints do matter, their impact can be mitigated by better project design. Inequality, social fragmentation, and lack of leadership in the community do have adverse consequences but these can be overcome by changes in project complexity, community participation, and return distribution. Moreover, the evidence suggests that better design matters even more for communities with poorer attributes. The use of community fixed effects and instrumental variables offers a significant improvement in empirical identification over previous studies. These results provide evidence that appropriate design can enable projects to succeed even in "bad" communities.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997.
"Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions,"
NBER Working Papers
6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
- Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2002.
"Social Capital and Community Governance,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 419-436, November.
- Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "An Economic Approach to Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 437-458, November.
- Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
- Edward Miguel, 2001.
"Ethnic Diversity and School Funding in Kenya,"
- Edward Miguel., 2001. "Ethnic Diversity and School Funding in Kenya," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C01-119, University of California at Berkeley.
- Miguel, Edward A., 2001. "Ethnic Diversity and School Funding in Kenya," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt0101m00c, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
- Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996.
"Trust in Large Organizations,"
NBER Working Papers
5864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997.
"Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
- Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
- Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Scholarly Articles 4553005, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, .
"Participation in Heterogeneous Communities,"
151, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
- Hausman, Jerry A & Taylor, William E, 1981.
"Panel Data and Unobservable Individual Effects,"
Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1377-98, November.
- Dayton-Johnson, Jeff, 2000. "Determinants of collective action on the local commons: a model with evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 181-208, June.
- Asim Ijaz Khwaja, 2004. "Is Increasing Community Participation Always a Good Thing?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 427-436, 04/05.
- Benjamin A. Olken, 2005.
"Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia,"
NBER Working Papers
11753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 200-249.
- Benjamin Olken, 2005. "Monitoring corruption: Evidence from a field experiment in indonesia," Natural Field Experiments 00317, The Field Experiments Website.
- La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Isham, Jonathan & Narayan, Deepa & Pritchett, Lant, 1995. "Does Participation Improve Performance? Establishing Causality with Subjective Data," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 9(2), pages 175-200, May.
- Baland, Jean-Marie & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1998. "Wealth Inequality and Efficiency in the Commons, Part II: The Regulated Case," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(1), pages 1-22, January.
- Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864, August.
- Fritzen, Scott A., 2007. "Can the Design of Community-Driven Development Reduce the Risk of Elite Capture? Evidence from Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1359-1375, August.
- Warr, Peter G., 1983. "The private provision of a public good is independent of the distribution of income," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 207-211.
- Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-31, July.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:7-8:p:899-916. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.