An experimental analysis of network and group formation for collective action

Research Partners:

University of Oxford
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This study used data from a field experiment and a quasi-experiment to investigate group formation for collective action in nineteen African villages. The field experiment involved a game that mimicked situations in which development agencies, non-governmental organisations, or government bodies invite villagers to form groups rapidly in order to address a shared problem.

The quasi-experiment occurred as a result of actions taken by the Zimbabwean government. In the early 1980s, displaced people were resettled in new villages made up of unrelated and often unacquainted households. In order to survive and prosper, these villagers had to solve various problems of collective action. To varying degrees, they addressed these problems by setting up Community Based Organisations (CBOs).

Combining data on experimental group and CBO formation with data on village geographies, kinship networks and household characteristics we investigated who groups and who groups with whom.

Findings:

  • kinship provides a basis for informally enforcing agreements
  • shared lineage may play a similar role and thereby act a substitute to CBOs as a support for cooperation
  • the poor are not excluded
  • women and men tend to segregate but it is not to do with distrust
  • religion supports collective action: and CBO co-memberships are valued.


 

 

University of Oxford
Marcel Fafchamps
Abigail Barr
Primary theme: 
Grant Reference: 
RES-167-25-0372
ES/F027532/1
Project Status: 
Closed
Grant Category: 
Research Grant
Lead Organisation Department: 
Economics
Fund Start Date: 
February 1st, 2008
Fund End Date: 
January 31st, 2010
Fund Currency Code: 
GBP
Fund Value: 
113611
Public-goods
Welfare
community-based-development
local-groups
social-network
kinship-networks
equity
villages
group-membership
collective-opportunity
associations
rural
urban
peri-urban
migration
refugees
farmers
institutional-environments
status
economic-prosperity
agrarian-communities
religion
gender-relations
trust
inter-personal-accountability
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