ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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The Logic of Community Participation: Experimental Evidence from West Bengal

Social capital has been defined as a set of informal norms that promotes cooperation among the members of the community. Where there is repeated interaction, the members are able to get better information about the activities and intentions of other members in the community than outsiders, thereby promoting collective action or community participation supported by peer monitoring and social sanctions. In order to verify the logic of community participation, three sessions of a public goods classroom experiment were conducted with students and villagers at Kolkata and South 24 Parganas in West Bengal. The results show that even though the group contributions have in all cases been above 50% of the initial endowment, the contributions by the villagers who were members of the same community-based organisation were always higher than those by the students. This may be attributed to the fact that the villagers, being members of the same cbo have a common history of social interaction leading to better group cohesiveness.

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