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The rockefeller effect


  • Mary Kay Gugerty
  • Michael Kremer


Many argue that organizations of the disadvantaged create positive externalities, and in particular strengthen the position of these groups in society. A natural inference is that these organizations should be subsidized. We argue that the benefits of expanding the operations of these groups must be set against the potential costs of weakening the role of the disadvantaged in these organizations. A prospective, randomized evaluation of a development program targeted at strengthening rural women's groups in western Kenya suggests that the program did not improve group strength or functioning as measured by participation rates, assistance to members, and assistance to other community projects. The funding did, however, change the very characteristics of the groups that made them attractive to funders in the first place. Younger, more educated women and women employed in the formal sector joined the groups, and men and better-educated and wealthier women moved into key leadership positions.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary Kay Gugerty & Michael Kremer, 2004. "The rockefeller effect," Natural Field Experiments 00263, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00263

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 2002. "Participation and Development: Perspectives from the Comprehensive Development Paradigm," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(2), pages 163-182, June.
    2. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel, 2003. "Networks, social learning, and technology adoption: The case of deworming drugs in kenya," Natural Field Experiments 00312, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. Brown, L. David & Ashman, Darcy, 1996. "Participation, social capital, and intersectoral problem solving: African and Asian cases," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(9), pages 1467-1479, September.
    4. Chris Garforth, 1994. "Rural people's organizations and agricultural extension in the upper north of thailand: Who benefits?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(6), pages 707-720, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Burney, Jennifer A. & Naylor, Rosamond L., 2012. "Smallholder Irrigation as a Poverty Alleviation Tool in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 110-123.

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