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Can Good Projects Succeed in Bad Communities? Collective Action

By Asim Ijaz Khwaja

Abstract

This paper examines determinants of collective success in the maintenance of infrastructure projects using theory and empirical evidence. The empirical analysis employs primary data collected by the author on 132 community-maintained infrastructure projects in Northern Pakistan. Determinants are grouped into community-specific and project-specific factors, which are identified using community fixed effects. The analysis shows that community-specific factors are important: Socially heterogeneous communities have poorly maintained projects and community inequality has a U-shaped relationship with maintenance. Project leaders are associated with higher maintenance, with attributes of hereditary leader households used as instruments for leader presence. However, the results also suggest that the effects of project-specific factors are even larger. Specifically, complex projects are poorly maintained and inequality in project returns has a U-shaped relationship with maintenance. Increased community participation in project decisions has a positive effect on maintenance for non-technical decisions but a negative effect for technical decisions. Projects initiated by non-governmental organizations are better maintained than local government projects, as are projects made as extensions of old projects rather than anew. The findings are consistent with the theory and suggest that adverse community-specific factors, such as a lack of social capital, can be more than compensated for by better project design

Year: 2001
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.195.6629
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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