توانمندسازی زنان و ایجاد سرمایه اجتماعی در روستاهای هندی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4210||2010||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : World Development, Volume 38, Issue 7, July 2010, Pages 974–988
Community-based development projects are often argued to strengthen social capital. This paper investigates the impact of a women’s empowerment program in India on trust and cooperation, using data on 2,000 households. The program significantly increases trust and stimulates contributions to educational and infrastructural community projects. The effect on informal assistance among households is less consistent. The findings suggest substantial spillovers on the wider community. Households who do not participate in the program themselves but who live in a program village are significantly more trusting and more likely to engage in collective action than households in control villages.
The involvement of local communities in project design and project management is a growing trend in development cooperation (Pritchett & Woolcock, 2004). The so-called participatory or community-based development (CBD) approach is claimed to have many advantages compared to traditional, top-down development programs (Grootaert and van Bastelaer, 2002, World Bank, 2000 and World Bank, 2002). Among them, participation in projects would enhance social interactions, increase trust between community members, and further strengthen their propensity to engage in collective action. If such projects are indeed able to generate social capital, their impact might multiply over time as communities become increasingly empowered to take matters in their own hands. Social capital in this context refers to the trust and shared norms of behavior that arise within informal social networks and that generate externalities for the members of a group (Durlauf & Fafchamps, 2004). It influences the resources that an individual can mobilize through his or her social network (Woolcock & Narayan, 2000) and the propensity of community members to engage in collective action (Ostrom & Ahn, 2002). Social capital is considered as an umbrella term that covers a variety of aspects of social organization, analogous to human and financial capital (Coleman, 1990). “Cognitive social capital” encompasses shared trust, norms, and values, which are based on mental processes and often difficult to observe. Social networks, informal organizations, or voluntary associations on the other hand are components of “structural social capital,” which is more easily observed and hence has received most attention in empirical work (Uphoff, 2000). This paper adopts a behavioral approach to social capital as an essential concept in explaining why cooperation arises in some situations, but fails to materialize in others. The paper specifically focuses on trust and on cooperative behavior as an important source and a manifestation, respectively, of social capital.1 In his seminal work The Logic of Collective Action,Olson (1965) convincingly described the social dilemma inherent to collective action. Free-riding problems, often described in terms of a prisoner’s dilemma, lie at the core of many theories that explain the absence of cooperation. In reality however, behavior often deviates from the assumptions of strong rationality and self-interested utility-maximization (Ostrom, 1998). A number of systematic findings from experimental economics support this less pessimistic view. For example, experimental trust games reveal that people generally show substantial levels of trust toward others, and that this trust is often rewarded (Cardenas & Carpenter, 2004). Likewise, cooperation in one-shot public good games is much more prevalent than that the theory predicts. This is found in communities from Papua-New Guinea to Zimbabwe to Belarus ( Barr, 2001, Gaechter et al., 2004 and Henrich et al., 2001), as well as in many industrialized countries (Fehr & Schmidt, 1999). Trust in others can help to overcome the prisoner’s dilemma inherent in social dilemmas. It reflects the expectation that others will not betray you or cheat you for their own benefit (Ostrom, 1998 and Ostrom and Ahn, 2002), opening the door to cooperative outcomes. Trust can grow and be destroyed: individuals regularly adopt their beliefs about others based on past experiences. If a CBD project successfully joins members of a community in cooperation, it seems likely that they will trust each other to do so again at the next opportunity. Thus, trust and cooperative behavior are interdependent and mutually beneficial. Abundant field evidence shows that trust and cooperation are positively correlated (e.g., Ostrom, 1990 and Platteau, 2000), although the direction of causality is more difficult to establish empirically. However, despite the growing budgets devoted to CBD projects, surprisingly few quantitative evaluations exist to support the claim that CBD projects can indeed create social capital.2 Evidence so far is ambiguous. For example, Rao and Ibañez (2005) conduct a mixed qualitative–quantitative evaluation of Social Funds in Jamaica. They find a causal and positive impact of the Social Funds on trust as well as on collective action, especially for the elites. Conversely, Tripp, Wijeratne, and Piyadasa (2005) are pessimistic about the capacity of Farmer Field Schools in Sri Lanka to produce the expected social capital benefits. Other studies document the institutional, socio-economic, and geographic determinants of community-level cooperation (Bardhan, 2000, Beard, 2007, Dewald et al., 2004 and Khwaja, 2009), the role of socio-cultural heterogeneity and economic inequality (Alesina and La Ferrara, 2000, Baland and Platteau, 1999, Khwaja, 2004 and Varughese and Ostrom, 2001), the influence of group size on collective action (Marwell and Oliver, 1993 and Poteete and Ostrom, 2004), or the impact of community participation on project performance (Agrawal and Chhatre, 2006, Isham and Kahkonen, 2002 and Khwaja, 2004). However, those studies do not analyze whether social capital is strengthened in communities where a CBD project is implemented compared to communities without such projects. To further gain insights in the potential benefits of CBD projects, this article provides a quantitative impact evaluation of a women’s empowerment program in India. The study estimates the impact of the program on trust and cooperation in rural communities. It is important to emphasize that the study does not disentangle the direction of causality between trust and cooperation. The analysis treats both aspects of social capital equally in the impact study. Empowerment is understood as “…possessing the capacity to make effective choices; that is, to translate one’s choices into desired actions and outcomes.” (Alsop & Heinsohn, 2005, p. 6) This capacity is primarily influenced by agency and opportunity structure, where the former is defined as “an actor’s ability to envisage options and make a choice”; and the latter as “the formal and informal contexts within which actors operate.” The program, called Mahila Samakhya, aims to mobilize women from the lowest castes and poorest families in rural villages to set up women’s groups in their community. The women are encouraged to identify their most urgent needs and demands, and to come up with solutions to jointly address these issues. Once the women’s groups are formed and functioning, they take up a large range of issues, from health trainings to establishing informal primary schools or setting up rotating savings and credit groups. The Government of India launched the program in 1988. Two decades after the initial successes of the pilot, Mahila Samakhya has been expanded as an independent (albeit state-sponsored) program to nine states in India, covering almost sixteen thousand villages in 2005.3 The research is based on a unique dataset of 1991 households in more than one hundred villages collected in 2003 in the state of Bihar. These encompass 74 villages where Mahila Samakhya is implemented and 28 comparable control villages where the program is not introduced yet. In each village, 20 households were interviewed. In the program villages, both participating and non-participating households were included in the sample. The program was not randomly implemented, but was based on a number of criteria. We use the gradual phasing in of the program to construct a control group. After conducting extensive tests of potential selection bias, we conclude that it is very unlikely that our results are driven by village selection effects. The empirical investigation starts with an analysis of the household and community characteristics that are significantly related to trust and cooperation. Next, we proceed with estimating the impact of Mahila Samakhya on the social capital variables. In addition to total village effects, we use propensity score matching techniques to estimate spillover effects on households who live in a program village, but who do not participate themselves. Central to the concept of social capital is the idea that it generates externalities for the members of a group (Coleman, 1990, Durlauf and Fafchamps, 2004 and Putnam, 1993). But very few studies examine explicitly whether CBD projects create social capital spillovers on non-participants. An interesting exception is Tripp et al. (2005), who find no evidence that Farmer Field Schools produce social capital externalities in the community. Alternatively, Janssens (in press) estimates the spillovers of Mahila Samakhya on immunization rates of children of non-participants and finds evidence of substantial externalities. To understand the Mahila Samakhya program in its context, the next section starts with a discussion of the social and economic conditions in Bihar with an emphasis on the position of women. It then describes the program. This is followed by a description of the sampling methodology, the key social capital variables, and the estimation strategy. Subsequently, the paper discusses the empirical results. The last section discusses the findings and highlights some policy implications.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Channels of development aid are increasingly shifting from the traditional top-down mechanisms to community-based development projects that actively involve communities in the design or the management of the project. This approach is claimed to increase social capital, in terms of trust and collective action. However, quantitative evidence to support this claim is still very limited. Based on a unique large-scale, quasi-experimental dataset, this paper examines the impact of the Mahila Samakhya program in Bihar on social capital. Bihar is one of the poorest states of India where women, the lower castes, and the landless still face substantial oppression. Through a gradual process of trust-building, Mahila Samakhya aims to empower the most disadvantaged women and to enable them to shape their own life through joint action across caste and religious boundaries. We find that Mahila Samakhya has resulted in significant increases in trust in community members and in strangers. In addition, contributions to community projects such as the construction or maintenance of schools, roads, and bridges are significantly larger in program villages than in control villages. The impact of the program is especially large among its target group: the lower castes and the poorest and least educated households. In addition, the program is able to partly offset community characteristics that inhibit collective action. We find only limited evidence that the program increases social assistance among households. This may be due to a lack of precision in the measurement of assistance that captures changes in types but not in intensity, frequency, or recipients of assistance. Further evidence suggests that the effects on social capital are especially correlated with enhanced agency and empowerment of women in Mahila Samakhya villages. A comparison of the control group with the households who live in program villages but who do not participate in the program themselves is suggestive of substantial spillover effects on the broader community, in particular regarding trust in community members and contributions to community projects. These findings should be interpreted with some caution as we cannot fully control for potential selection bias. Nevertheless, they suggest that the impact of community-based development projects on social capital trickles down to other, non-participating community members. Thus, the spin-offs of the program may set in motion a true movement of change. The study has not empirically investigated whether trust “causes” cooperation, whether trust itself might be a result of cooperative behavior, or both; or whether other aspects such as enhanced social interactions play a role. The potential multiplier effect of CBD projects is to a large extent based on the assumption that trust and cooperation are mutually reinforcing. If on the other hand causality runs only in one direction, this has implications for longer term effectiveness as well as project design. The project should focus on the “engine” of cooperation and either emphasize the building of trust, or instead increase awareness on the benefits of collective action and provide additional resources for cooperation. Further research is necessary to understand underlying dynamics and disentangle directions of causality. Also, it is not straightforward to what extent the results can be extended to other programs. Mahila Samakhya is rather unique in its careful but slow approach that puts a lot of effort in building trust and confidence among the women before it goes on to any other activity. Many community-based development projects instead start with the mobilization of individuals to join in collective action, perhaps after a few weeks of participatory meetings, based on an approach of learning-by-doing. Our results cannot predict whether such an approach is able to produce similar outcomes. Platteau and Abraham (2002) argue that rapid disbursement procedures for CBD projects are likely to be unsuccessful, if not counterproductive. Building social capital, empowering minorities, and breaking down existing social inequalities take time and intensive facilitator efforts. Hence, a comparative study of the impact of different program designs would be necessary to further gain insights in the characteristics of projects that make them successful in increasing social capital. Moreover, the women’s groups operate at their own pace and take up new activities at their own demand. This prevents the program from rapidly coming to scale. Funders of the program are neither fully in control of financial disbursements nor of project outcomes. Obviously, this asks for a great patience on their part as well as a considerable devolution of control to local communities. It is to be seen whether this is compatible with the internal incentive and reward mechanisms of multilateral and other donors.