Group Size and Collective Action: Evidence from Bangladesh | Anna Tompsett

5 June, 2019 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
LSE, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields.LG.18,

Anna will be discussing the paper that was written with Serena Cocciolo and Ahasan Habib on Group Size and Collective Action: Evidence from Bangladesh.


The effect of group size on the ability to take collective action is theoretically ambiguous and empirically unresolved. This paper provides causal evidence from a real-world setting of the effect of group size on collective action. Exogenous variation in group size arises from an application of Maimonides’ rule, combined with a randomized controlled experiment. We find that when communities are faced with a collective action problem—to cooperate on a program of safe drinking water provision—in larger groups, per capita effort falls. Larger groups are nonetheless somewhat more successful overall in installing safe wells. However, despite the additional wells installed, larger groups achieve smaller increases in use of safe drinking water, possibly because reduced participation weakens constraints on elite capture.

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