Diversity and the Dilemmas of Collective Action
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
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Much of this book was drafted around the dining room table of a country house on Pender Island in British Columbia. Although we faced many challenges in analyzing data and melding our four distinct voices into one, one of the greatest hurdles we confronted involved conserving water from the well that fed our writing retreat. A long shower, too many loads of laundry, a tap left running...
About the Authors
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James Habyarimana is assistant professor of public policy at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. Macartan Humphreys is associate professor of political science at Columbia University. Daniel N. Posner is associate professor of political science at the University of California–Los Angeles. Jeremy M. Weinstein is associate professor of political science at Stanford University and an affiliated faculty...
Chapter 1: Diversity and Collective Action
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Just off the main road that cuts through the slum area behind Kampala’s main hospital lies the local council zone (LC1) of East Nsooba.1 An ethnically mixed neighborhood, it is set at the base of a steep hillside with small, closely spaced houses stretching down the incline and across the swampy valley floor. The houses are simple, with...
Chapter 2: Public Goods Provision in Kampala
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Our inquiry into the mechanisms that link social diversity and collective action failure is motivated by the observation that heterogeneous communities tend to provide lower levels of public goods for their members than homogeneous communities. This chapter lays the foundation for our discussion by doing three things. First, we...
Chapter 3: Ethnicity and Ethnic Identifiability
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Any claim that ethnic diversity is associated with better or worse public goods provision requires some notion of what ethnic diversity means. Yet the very idea of ethnicity or ethnic diversity is itself a contentious issue. As measured by most scholars, the concept of ethnic diversity appears simple at first: if two people are paired...
Chapter 4: Testing the Mechanisms
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Across Mulago-Kyebando, local council chairs bemoan the lack of cooperation from members of the community when they launch initiatives to fight crime, collect garbage, and maintain drainage channels. Their frustration is shared by people living in other ethnically diverse communities around the world. The problems these...
Chapter 5: A Closer Look at Reciprocity
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Our examination of differences in how coethnics interact has pinpointed a number of mechanisms that could account for the higher levels of cooperation we observe in ethnically homogeneous communities. In the last chapter, we found evidence for a number of technological advantages. Coethnics are more likely to know one another directly, and even if they do not, they...
Chapter 6: Beyond the Lab
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In the preceding chapters, we have emphasized the importance of norms that facilitate the sanctioning of noncontributors. The results of our experimental games suggest that such norms are stronger when people are interacting with coethnics, in part because coethnics engage in repeated interactions and to be closely linked through social...
Chapter 7: Conclusions
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The communities of Mulago-Kyebando sit nestled in a valley between two of Kampala’s seven hills, nearly a sixty-minute drive (ninety minutes during the rainy season) from the house we rented during our four months of fieldwork in 2005. Every morning we traveled in our well-worn minivan with our mobile computer lab and thousands of coins to our research site. Potholes and...
Appendix A: Sampling Procedure
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Appendix B: Main Statistical Results
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Appendix C: Images of the Field Site, Experimental Games, and Research Team
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2009
Series Title: Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust