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Methods for studying collective action in rural development:

  • Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela
  • Di Gregorio, Monica
  • McCarthy, Nancy

With renewed recognition of the importance of collective action in many aspects of agriculture, natural resource management, and rural development programs in developing countries, there is a need for research on the factors that affect its emergence, as well as its performance. Yet because of its dynamic nature, collective action is difficult to measure and study. This article discusses ways of conceptualizing collective action to provide researchers from various disciplines with a basic framework for understanding and studying collective action. It highlights specific features of collective action that are relevant to identify best practice methodological approaches and research techniques. The main part of the paper then describes how collective action can be operationalized, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of different methods, as well as discussing complementarities among methods. This discussion provides an overview on the use of qualitative, quantitative, experimental, and action research methods for studying collective action.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series CAPRi working papers with number 33.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:worpps:33
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  1. Bardhan, Pranab, 2000. "Irrigation and Cooperation: An Empirical Analysis of 48 Irrigation Communities in South India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(4), pages 847-65, July.
  2. Gladwin, Christina H. & Peterson, Jennifer S. & Mwale, Abiud C., 2002. "The Quality of Science in Participatory Research: A Case Study from Eastern Zambia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 523-543, April.
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  4. Knox, Anna & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela & Hazell, P. B. R., 1998. "Property rights, collective action and technologies for natural resource management: a conceptual framework," CAPRi working papers 1, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela & Raju, K. V. & Gulati, Ashok, 2000. "What affects organization and collective action for managing resources?: evidence from canal irrigation systems in India," EPTD discussion papers 61, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Place, Frank & Kariuki, Gatarwa & Wangila, Justine & Kristjanson, Patricia & Makauki, Adolf & Ndubi, Jessica, 2004. "Assessing the factors underlying differences in achievements of farmer groups: methodological issues and empirical findings from the highlands of Central Kenya," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 257-272, December.
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  9. Narayan, Deepa & Pritchett, Lant, 1997. "Cents and sociability : household income and social capital in rural Tanzania," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1796, The World Bank.
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  11. Swallow, Brent M. & Garrity, Dennis P. & van Noordwijk, Meine, 2001. "The effects of scales, flows and filters on property rights and collective action in watershed management:," CAPRi working papers 16, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  12. Herbert A. Simon, 1992. "Altruism and Economics," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 73-83, Winter.
  13. Elinor Ostrom & Juan-Camilo Cardenas, 2004. "What do people bring into the game? Experiments in the field about cooperation in the commons," Artefactual Field Experiments 00027, The Field Experiments Website.
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  15. Lindon Robison & A. Allan Schmid & Marcelo Siles, 2002. "Is Social Capital Really Capital?," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 60(1), pages 1-21.
  16. Anderson White, T. & Ford Runge, C., 1995. "The emergence and evolution of collective action: Lessons from watershed management in Haiti," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(10), pages 1683-1698, October.
  17. Knox, Anna & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela, 2000. "Collective action, property rights, and devolution of natural resource management: exchange of knowledge and implications for policy," CAPRi working papers 11, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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  19. Schmid, A. Allan, 2000. "Affinity as social capital: its role in development," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 159-171.
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