Participatory Accountability and Collective Action: Evidence from Field Experiments in Albanian Schools

42 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Abigail Barr

Abigail Barr

University of Nottingham

Truman G. Packard

World Bank - Europe and Central Asia Region; University of Oxford - Department of Economics

Danila Serra

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 1, 2012

Abstract

There is general agreement that the existence of participatory institutions is a necessary condition for accountability, especially where top-down institutions are malfunctioning or missing. In education, the evidence on the effectiveness of participatory accountability is mixed. This paper argues that participation is a social dilemma and therefore depends, at least partly, on individuals' propensity to cooperate with others for the common good. This being the case, the mixed evidence could be owing to society-level heterogeneities in individuals' willingness and ability to overcome collective action problems. The authors investigate whether individuals' propensity to cooperate plays a role in parents' decisions to participate in both a school accountability system -- a "short route" to accountability -- and parliamentary elections -- a "long route" to accountability -- by combining survey data on 1,800 individuals' participation decisions with measures of their willingness to contribute to a public good in the context of a very simple, clearly defined laboratory experiment. They conduct a study in a new democracy, Albania, involving parents of children enrolled in primary schools. The findings confirm that, both across individuals within communities and across communities, the decision to hold teachers and school directors accountable directly through participation at the school level, and indirectly through political participation correlates with cooperativeness in a simple public goods game.

Keywords: Parliamentary Government, Education For All, Tertiary Education, Primary Education, Governance Indicators

Suggested Citation

Barr, Abigail Margaret and Packard, Truman G. and Serra, Danila, Participatory Accountability and Collective Action: Evidence from Field Experiments in Albanian Schools (April 1, 2012). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6027, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2034786

Abigail Margaret Barr (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

Truman G. Packard

World Bank - Europe and Central Asia Region ( email )

1818 H Street
Washington, DC 20433
United States

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom

Danila Serra

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Department of Economics ( email )

Dallas, TX 75275
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.smu.edu/dserra/

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