Fostering Community-Driven Development: What Role for the State?

31 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Monica Das Gupta

Monica Das Gupta

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Helene Grandvoinnet


Mattia Romani


Date Written: January 2003


States can do much to tap community-level energies and resources for development if they seek to interact more synergistically with local communities. The broader spin-off is creating a developmental society and polity. Using case studies from Asia and Latin America, Das Gupta, Granvoinnet, and Romani show how:

• State efforts to bring about land reform, tenancy reform, and expanding non-crop sources of income can broaden the distribution of power in rural communities, laying the basis for more effective community-driven collective action; and • Higher levels of government can form alliances with communities, putting pressure on local authorities from above and below to improve development outcomes at the local level. These alliances can also be very effective in catalyzing collective action at community level, and reducing local capture by vested interests.

There are several encouraging points that emerge from these case studies. First, these powerful institutional changes do not necessarily take long to generate. Second, they can be achieved in a diversity of settings: tightly knit or loose-knit communities; war-ravaged or relatively stable; democratic or authoritarian; with land reform or (if carefully managed) even without. Third, there are strong political payoffs in terms of legitimacy and popular support for those who support such developmental action.

This paper - a joint product of Public Services and Rural Development, Development Research Group, and Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, Africa Technical Families - is part of a larger effort in the Bank to understand how to foster effective community-driven development.

Suggested Citation

Das Gupta, Monica and Grandvoinnet, Helene and Romani, Mattia, Fostering Community-Driven Development: What Role for the State? (January 2003). Available at SSRN:

Monica Das Gupta (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States


Helene Grandvoinnet


Mattia Romani


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