Organizing for Prosperity: Collective Action, Political Parties and the Political Economy of Development

30 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Philip Keefer

Philip Keefer

Inter-American Development Bank

Date Written: August 1, 2013

Abstract

The ability of citizens to act collectively plays a central role in major debates in the political economy of development, including the causes and consequences of democratization and clientelism. This essay uses two lines of research to underscore the importance of explicitly introducing the organization of collective action into these debates. Exhaustive research on the management of open access resources demonstrates that citizens' ability to act collectively depends on non-trivial organizational arrangements that allow leaders to sanction free-riding and allow members to replace leaders if they shirk. Other research demonstrates wide variability in the organization of political parties. In countries where political parties do not have these two organizational characteristics, public policies are less friendly to economic development. This evidence suggests that in future research on democracy, state-building and development, citizen organization should be a central object of analysis.

Keywords: Parliamentary Government, Microfinance, Corporate Law, Politics and Government, Political Systems and Analysis

Suggested Citation

Keefer, Philip, Organizing for Prosperity: Collective Action, Political Parties and the Political Economy of Development (August 1, 2013). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6583, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2316585

Philip Keefer (Contact Author)

Inter-American Development Bank ( email )

1300 New York Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States
202-623-1961 (Phone)

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