Is Increasing Community Participation Always a Good Thing?

Khwaja, Asim (2004)


Khwaja, Asim. 2004. “Is Increasing Community Participation Always A Good Thing?”. Journal Of The European Economic Association 2 (2-3): 427-436.
This paper considers the impact of community participation on outcomes of development projects. It first offers a theoretical framework for participation by using the property rights literature to model how participation in an activity, in addition to involving information exchange, also results in greater influence in the activity. The model predicts that community participation may not always be desirable. The paper then uses primary data on development projects in Northern Pakistan to provide empirical support for this prediction. It shows that while community participation improve project outcomes in nontechnical decisions, increasing community participation in technical decisions actually leads to worse project outcomes.