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Modes of Collective Action in Village Economies: Evidence from Natural and Artefactual Field Experiments in a Developing Country

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  • Yasuyuki Sawada

    () (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)

  • Ryuji Kasahara

    (Japan International Cooperation Agency)

  • Keitaro Aoyagi

    (Japan International Cooperation Agency)

  • Masahiro Shoji

    (Faculty of Economics, Seijo University, Japan)

  • Mika Ueyama

    (Ryukoku University)

Abstract

In a canonical model of collective action, individual contribution to collective action is negatively correlated with group size. Yet, empirical evidence on the group size effect has been mixed, partly due to heterogeneities in group activities. In this paper, we first construct a simple model of collective action with the free rider problem, altruism, public goods, and positive externalities of social networks. We then empirically test the theoretical implications of the group size effect on individual contribution to four different types of collective action, i.e., monetary or nonmonetary contribution to directly or indirectly productive activities. To achieve this, we collect and employ artefactual field experimental data such as public goods and dictator games conducted in southern Sri Lanka under a natural experimental situation where the majority of farmers were relocated to randomly selected communities based on the government lottery. This unique situation enables us to identify the causal effects of community size on collective action. We find that the levels of collective action can be explained by the social preferences of farmers. We also show evidence of free riding by self-interested households with no landholdings. The pattern of collective action, however, differs significantly by mode of activity—collective action that is directly rather than indirectly related to production is less likely to suffer from the free rider problem. Also, monetary contribution is less likely to cause free riding than nonmonetary labor contribution. Unlike labor contributions, monetary contributions involve collection of fees which can be easily tracked and verified, possibly leading to better enforcement of collective action. © 2013 Asian Development Bank and Asian Development Bank Institute.

Suggested Citation

  • Yasuyuki Sawada & Ryuji Kasahara & Keitaro Aoyagi & Masahiro Shoji & Mika Ueyama, 2013. "Modes of Collective Action in Village Economies: Evidence from Natural and Artefactual Field Experiments in a Developing Country," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 30(1), pages 31-51, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:adbadr:v:30:y:2013:i:1:p:31-51
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Shoji, Masahiro, 2017. "Eliciting Guilt Sensitivity to Predict Real-World Behavior," MPRA Paper 81451, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu & Takeshi Aida & Ryuji Kasahara & Yasuyuki Sawada & Deeptha Wijerathna, 2014. "How Access to Irrigation Influences Poverty and Livelihoods: A Case Study from Sri Lanka," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(5), pages 748-768, May.
    3. Aoyagi, Keitaro & Sawada, Yasuyuki & Shoji, Masahiro, 2014. "Does Infrastructure Facilitate Social Capital Accumulation? Evidence from Natural and Artefactual Field Experiments in a Developing Country," Working Papers 65, JICA Research Institute.
    4. Aida, Takeshi, 2011. "Social Capital as an Instrument for Common Pool Resource Management:A Case Study of Irrigation Management in Sri Lanka," Working Papers 33, JICA Research Institute.
    5. Senaratna Sellamuttu, Sonali, 2013. "How access to irrigation influences poverty and livelihoods: a case study from Sri Lanka. Impact assessment of infrastructure projects on poverty reduction," IWMI Working Papers H045795, International Water Management Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    collective action; social preference; natural and artefactual field experiment; irrigation; South Asia;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

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