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Can Good Projects Succeed in Bad Communities? Collective Action in the Himalayas

  • Khwaja, Asim Ijaz

    (Harvard U)

This paper examines, theoretically and empirically, the determinants of collective success in the maintenance of infrastructure projects. The empirical analysis employs primary data collected by the author on 132 community-maintained infrastructure projects in Northern Pakistan. Determinants are grouped into community-specific and project-specific factors, the latter identified using community fixed effects. The analysis shows that community-specific factors are important: Socially heterogeneous communities have poorly maintained projects and community inequality has a U-shaped relationship with maintenance. Project leaders are associated with higher maintenance, with attributes of hereditary leader households used as instruments for leader presence. However, the results suggest that the effects of project-specific factors are even larger. Specifically, complex projects are poorly maintained and inequality in project returns has a Ushaped relationship with maintenance. Increased community participation in project decisions has a positive effect on maintenance for non-technical decisions but a negative effect for technical decisions. Projects initiated by non-governmental organizations are better maintained than local government projects, as are projects made as extensions of old projects rather than anew. The findings are consistent with the theory and suggest that adverse community-specific factors, such as a lack of social capital, can be more than compensated for by better project design.

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Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp01-043.

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Date of creation: Nov 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp01-043
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  2. Dayton-Johnson, Jeff & Bardhan, Pranab, 1996. "Inequality and Conservation on the Local Commons: A Theoretical Exercise," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt7f9913w9, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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  7. Dayton-Johnson, Jeff, 2000. "Choosing rules to govern the commons: a model with evidence from Mexico," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 19-41, May.
  8. Baland, Jean-Marie & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2000. "Halting Degradation of Natural Resources: Is There a Role for Rural Communities?," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290612, March.
  9. Deininger, Klaus & Olinto, Pedro, 2000. "Asset distribution, inequality, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2375, The World Bank.
  10. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2000. "Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," NBER Working Papers 7793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. 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.
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