Participation, Power and Preferences in International Development
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CitationGrillos, Tara. 2015. Participation, Power and Preferences in International Development. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractParticipatory development is widely touted as the remedy for ineffective and disempowering top-down development models of the past. However, participation can take many different forms, so an important open question for effective delivery of development assistance is: Which forms of participation influence which development outcomes under which circumstances? In this dissertation, I identify six key areas of research related to participatory development: the initial adoption of a participatory institution, the decision by individuals to participate or not, the direct outcomes of the participatory process, the effects on participants themselves, changes in the process over time, and carefully selected comparisons across contexts. I then make specific contributions to three of these areas through empirical research.
The first essay, Popular Participation, Reciprocity Norms and Conservation Incentives in Bolivia, examines the decision to participate. In it, I compare the characteristics of participants and non-participants in a compensation program for environmental conservation in Bolivia, and I show that in addition to material incentives, social embeddedness plays a role in motivating participation. The second essay, Poverty Targeting and Elite Capture in Participatory Planning in Indonesia, addresses the direct outcomes of participation. In it, I examine the geographical distribution of the outcomes of a participatory planning process in Indonesia, and I show that the benefits are captured most by the least poor areas, but that this occurs in ways distinct from how capture is typically conceived. The third essay, Gender Inequality and the Multi-Dimensionality of Power in Northern Kenya, addresses the effects of participation on the empowerment of participants themselves. In it, I assess the impact on women’s empowerment of a program meant to enhance women’s political participation in northern Kenya, and I find that while the program largely fails to promote political participation, it has an impact on women’s empowerment within the household, very likely due to a component of the program which engaged directly with men.
Overarching themes that emerge across these studies include (1) the importance of increased conceptual clarity not only with respect to the various forms that participation can take and the various goals it can be invoked to seek, but also regarding various hypothesized effects of and motivations for participation, (2) the potential relevance of the implementing agency and its relationship with pre-existing, overlapping social institutions, and (3) the usefulness of engaging with literature on psychology and behavioral economics. Understudied areas for future research include the evolution over time of a particular participatory process and more systematic comparisons of participatory processes across settings.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:23845452
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