The ability to cooperate in collective action problems – such as those relating to the use of common property resources or the provision of local public goods – is a key determinant of economic performance. In this paper we discuss two aspects of collective action problems in developing countries. First, which institutions discourage opportunistic behaviour and promote cooperation? Second, what are the characteristics of the individuals involved that determine the degree to which they cooperate? We first review the evidence from field studies, laboratory experiments, and cross community studies. We then present new results from an individual level panel dataset of rural workers
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