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Is Increasing Community Participation Always a Good Thing?


  • Asim Ijaz Khwaja

    (Harvard University,)


This paper considers the impact of community participation on outcomes of development projects. It first offers a theoretical framework for participation by using the property rights literature to model how participation in an activity, in addition to involving information exchange, also results in greater influence in the activity. The model predicts that community participation may not always be desirable. The paper then uses primary data on development projects in Northern Pakistan to provide empirical support for this prediction. It shows that while community participation improves project outcomes in nontechnical decisions, increasing community participation in technical decisions actually leads to worse project outcomes. (JEL: D23, D78, H40, O12, O20) Copyright (c) 2004 The European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:2:y:2004:i:2-3:p:427-436

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ronelle BURGER & Indraneel DASGUPTA & Trudy OWENS, 2015. "Why Pay NGOs to Involve the Community?," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(1), pages 7-31, March.
    2. Hidayat Ullah Khan & Takashi Kurosaki, 2015. "Targeting Performance of Community-based Development Interventions- An Econometric Analysis of a Women-Focused and Women-Managed Non-Governmental Organisation in Rural Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 54(4), pages 825-840.
    3. King, Elisabeth & Samii, Cyrus, 2014. "Fast-Track Institution Building in Conflict-Affected Countries? Insights from Recent Field Experiments," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 740-754.
    4. Federica VIGANO & Andrea SALUSTRI, 2015. "Matching profit and Non-profit Needs: How NPOs and Cooperative Contribute to Growth in Time of Crisis. A Quantitative Approach," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(1), pages 157-178, March.
    5. Aga, Deribe Assefa, 2016. "Factors affecting the success of development projects : A behavioral perspective," Other publications TiSEM 867ae95e-d53d-4a68-ad46-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    6. Bhattamishra, Ruchira & Barrett, Christopher B., 2010. "Community-Based Risk Management Arrangements: A Review," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 923-932, July.
    7. Liu, Chengfang & Zhang, Linxiu & Huang, Jikun & Luo, Renfu & Rozelle, Scott, 2009. "Can Good Projects Succeed in Bad Villages? Project Design, Village Governance and Infrastructure Quality in Rural China," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 49944, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    8. Cecilia NAVARRA & Elena VALLINO, 2015. "Who Had the Idea to Build Up a Village Organization? Some Evidence from Senegal and Burkina Faso," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(1), pages 33-72, March.
    9. Peter Grajzl & Peter Murrell, 2009. "Fostering civil society to build institutions," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 17(1), pages 1-41, January.
    10. Muhammad Shakil Ahmad & Noraini Bt. Abu Talib, 2013. "Local Government Systems and Decentralization: Evidence from Pakistan’s Devolution Plan," Contemporary Economics, University of Finance and Management in Warsaw, vol. 7(1), March.
    11. Abrar S. Chaudhury & Ariella Helfgott & Thomas F. Thornton & Chase Sova, 2016. "Participatory adaptation planning and costing. Applications in agricultural adaptation in western Kenya," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 301-322, March.
    12. Khwaja, Asim Ijaz, 2009. "Can good projects succeed in bad communities?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 899-916, August.
    13. Muhammad Shakil Ahmad & Noraini Bt. Abu Talib, 2016. "Analysis of Community Empowerment on Projects Sustainability: Moderating Role of Sense of Community," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 1039-1056, December.
    14. Shoji, Masahiro & Aoyagi, Keitaro & Kasahara, Ryuji & Sawada, Yasuyuki, 2010. "Motives behind Community Participation," Working Papers 16, JICA Research Institute.
    15. repec:hur:ijarbs:v:7:y:2017:i:4:p:375-400 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Janssens, Wendy, 2010. "Women's Empowerment and the Creation of Social Capital in Indian Villages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 974-988, July.
    17. Kurosaki, Takashi & Khan, Hidayat Ullah, 2014. "Community-Based Development and Aggregate Shocks in Developing Countries: The Experience of an NGO in Pakistan," PRIMCED Discussion Paper Series 54, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O20 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - General


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