Participation is not enough : associations and local government in the social fund of Nicaragua
Author(s)Rose, Jonathan (Jonathan Alexander)
Associations and local government in the social fund of Nicaragua
Associations and local government in the Nicaraguan Social Fund
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
Richard M. Locke.
MetadataShow full item record
Community participation in development projects, in which billions of dollars are invested every year, has become quite controversial. While these initiatives can be beneficial, many participatory projects fall short of expectations, succumbing to problems such as corruption amongst local elites. What explains the diversity of experiences with participation in development projects? More specifically, under what conditions is participatory project governance successful? Through case studies of Projects Guided by the Community (PGCs) of the Nicaraguan Social Fund, and based on over 150 interviews, I find that the differing experiences can be explained by 1) the pre-existing associational life of the community and 2) the regulatory strategy of local government officials. A community's associational life influences participation in at least two ways. First, associations help the community to elect honest and capable individuals for influential executive positions in the project. Associations do so by producing leaders who become candidates for these positions, as well as creating and disseminating information on those leaders. Second, particular associations, such as a Pentecostal Church, serve to mobilize mass community participation. The dissertation describes at length the specific characteristics of associations that are necessary for these mechanisms to function. Government officials play a crucial role in regulating community participation, to ensure that the projects are completed successfully. The case studies highlight two main regulatory strategies. In the preventive strategy, government officials seek to build the capacity of the community to execute the project, by providing necessary information and encouraging participation. In the reactive strategy, officials monitor the communities' behavior and punish them when they violate the rules. Overall, while both strategies serve their purpose, the preventive strategy is more effective because it takes advantage of community participation, while the reactive strategy is limited by the difficulty that officials face when seeking out violations of the rules and applying punishment mechanisms. Policy makers may use the analysis to target resources to cases of likely success, or to improve local conditions for participatory development projects.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2010.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 219-232).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology