Community Mobilization Around Social Dilemmas: Evidence from Lab Experiments in Rural Mali

Posted: 20 May 2014

See all articles by Maria Laura Alzua

Maria Laura Alzua

Universidad Nacional de La Plata - Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS)

Juan Cardenas

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Habiba Djebbari

Université Laval - Département d'Économique; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: December 1, 2013

Abstract

Community mobilization is a key feature of community based development projects. Community mobilization requires facilitating communication between village members and between leaders and the rest of the community. Is communication an effective device through which mobilization may foster collective action? Does informing the community on how to reach a better social outcome key? Should we expect the effectiveness of community based programs to depend on the quality of leadership in the community? In rural communities of Mali, we find evidence of high levels of cooperation as measured by a standard public good game. Communication between players increases contributions to the public good. Passing of information through a random community member also improves cooperation, and leadership skills matter. We also find suggestive evidence that changes in behavior are mediated through changes in beliefs. The experiments are embedded in a larger randomized controlled trial designed to evaluate the impact of a community based sanitation intervention. As such, our results are relevant for a large population. Finally, we find that the program help strengthen the capacity for collective action.

Keywords: Public good experiments, communication, leadership, and community based development

JEL Classification: D78, C93, H41

Suggested Citation

Alzua, Maria Laura and Cardenas, Juan and Djebbari, Habiba, Community Mobilization Around Social Dilemmas: Evidence from Lab Experiments in Rural Mali (December 1, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2438914

Maria Laura Alzua (Contact Author)

Universidad Nacional de La Plata - Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) ( email )

Calle 6 e/47 y 48
La Plata, Provincia de Buenos Aires 1900
Argentina

Juan Cardenas

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Carrera Primera # 18A-12
Bogota, DC D.C. 110311
Colombia

Habiba Djebbari

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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