[STBI-11-11-2015] Community-Driven Development and Social Capital: Evidence from Morocco

by Dr. Matthias Rieger

11:00 am, Wednesday, 11-11-2015
Hall H.001, UEH School of Economics

Abstract

Community-driven development programs rest on the principle of development aid through active community participation. Their demand-driven and bottom-up nature of decision making is expected to promote pro-social behaviors. This paper studies the impact of one such program in rural Morocco on social capital. We use behavioral experiments in the field to measure social capital among households living in communes with and without the policy intervention. Using a regression discontinuity framework, we find that community-driven development has a positive but weak impact on public goods contribution. This public responsibility increases with treatment intensity as proxied by the amount of total project spending. While the program has no effect on altruism, evidence seems to suggest that it reduces interpersonal trust. These mixed results signal that social capital responds rather slowly, if at all, to a shift from a centralized to a more localized decision-making process.

[Download the full paper: here]

Presenter

Dr. Matthias Rieger is currently Assistant Professor in Development Economics at International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). Matthias is a micro-development economist with interests in experimental and health economics. Matthias is also a visiting instructor at Vietnam-the Netherlands Programme (VNP) for training Master of Arts in Development Economics in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He received his PhD in International Economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, in 2013. Matthias is also an academic associate with the Development Impact Evaluation Initiative at the World Bank and has conducted impact evaluations and household surveys in Morocco, the Central African Republic, Cambodia and Burundi. He has published many papers in academic journals such as Journal of Health Economics, Economic Development and Cultural Change, Economics and Human Biology, Demography, Psychology & Aging, Journal of Gerontology, Feminist Economics, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Forum for Health Economics and Policy, and Journal of Evolutionary Psychology.