Empirical Studies on Social Capital, Land and Credit Institutions
6 Ethnic heterogeneity and the formation of social capital in rural communities of Northern Vietnam
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6. Ethnic heterogeneity and the formation of social capital in rural communities of Northern Vietnam
Using data from rural communities in which ethnic heterogeneity was induced within through involuntary resettlements policies in the 1960s, we estimate the exogenous effect of ethnic heterogeneity on individual participation in local organizations and households’ social network capital. The effect on participation depends on organizations’ political nature and the public nature of managed goods. We find no direct impact on social network capital but an indirect effect through interactions with identity and participation. Results do not confirm theoretical predictions of a negative relationship but show that ethnic heterogeneity can encourage bridging connections, and, as such, foster innovation and economic development.
Over the past decade, rural communities have been recognized increasingly more by scholars and practitioners as essential actors in economic development, and have been given greater influence over the design and implementation of development policies and projects. The so-called decentralized and community-driven development projects represent, according to Mansuri and Rao (2004), about US$7 billion of the World Bank’s portfolio. In Vietnam as well, after decollectivization in 1988, communities have been entitled to a central role in the implementation of anti-poverty policies, infrastructure development projects, and other reforms such as land allocation. This trend is based on the belief that communities, thanks to better information access and higher enforcement capacities, have a comparative advantage, when it comes to allocating resources and...
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