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Collective action, clientelism, and connectivity

Shami, Mahvish (2012) Collective action, clientelism, and connectivity. American Political Science Review, 106 (3). pp. 588-606. ISSN 0003-0554

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0003055412000251


Backed by studies finding only limited propensity for free-riding when communities have an interest in self-provision, the last few decades have seen a surge of interest in community-based development. A major caveat to the "second wave" of collective action studies, however, is that collective action often breaks down under hierarchical social relationships. This is unfortunate news for developing countries' rural societies, which are often entrenched in patron-client networks. Using a natural experiment found in the construction of a motorway, the article finds that clientelist relationships do not, in and by themselves, block peasant collective action. Rather, it is the interaction between clientelism and isolation that empowers patrons to block community-based projects. Peasants in connected villages face no such constraints, but instead rely on their patrons' assistance in collective projects, making the hierarchical network an additional resource.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 American Political Science Association
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
JEL classification: O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O18 - Regional, Urban, and Rural Analyses
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R0 - General
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2012 10:33
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2024 18:33

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