International Interventions to Build Social Capital: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Sudan

Alexandra Avdeenko, Michael J. Gilligan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Increasingly the international community attempts to improve local public infrastructure in developing countries by creating more participatory local governance and social capital. We report on a randomized field experiment conducted in 24 communities (16 treated and 8 control) in rural Sudan. We offer a clearer theoretical statement of how these programs might alter the political landscape of the recipient villages. We measure norms using lab-in-the-field techniques and we measure network density with a survey of our 475 lab subjects. We appraise the participatory character of local governance and civic participation with a survey of 576 households. The program did not affect either networks or norms, but civic participation and the participatory nature of local governance increased. Thus we attribute the increase in citizen participation not to social capital growth but to more open local governing institutions.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)427-449
    Number of pages23
    JournalAmerican Political Science Review
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Aug 7 2015

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations


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