Can Information Outreach Increase Participation in Community-Driven Development? A Field Experiment Near Bwindi National Park, Uganda

97 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2017 Last revised: 29 Nov 2017

See all articles by Mark Buntaine

Mark Buntaine

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Brigham Daniels

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School

Colleen Devlin

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Date Written: October 11, 2017

Abstract

Decentralization and community-driven development intend to bring public decisions closer to the people, yet elites often capture local institutions. One way that local elites capture community-driven development is to limit information about opportunities for citizens to shape group decisions. We investigate whether sending citizens targeted and timely information about when and how they can participate in the planning of community-driven development projects increases knowledge, participation, and satisfaction with local institutions. We implemented a pre-registered randomized field experiment in partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority that involved sending residents in randomly selected villages near Bwindi National Park approximately 60 messages by mobile phone over eight months about how a park-sponsored revenue sharing program worked and how and when residents could participate. We do not find evidence that the information increased perceived knowledge, participation, perceived efficacy, or satisfaction with local institutions. Exploratory findings suggest that among women, who are often disenfranchised in Ugandan society, the information treatment backfired. More positively, we find that reaching more people in a community with information led to promising results. We conclude that informational treatments are unlikely to empower participation on average, unless they are deployed broadly and in ways that promote collective action.

Keywords: community-driven development, capture, participation, information

Suggested Citation

Buntaine, Mark and Daniels, Brigham and Devlin, Colleen, Can Information Outreach Increase Participation in Community-Driven Development? A Field Experiment Near Bwindi National Park, Uganda (October 11, 2017). World Development, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3051482 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3051482

Mark Buntaine (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

Brigham Daniels

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School ( email )

410 JRCB
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
United States

Colleen Devlin

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

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