This paper presents the results of a field experiment measuring the willingness of individuals in rural communities to contribute to the financing of local public projects. Individuals were asked five times during 2009 to donate to a public good for their community. The experiment tested two commonly used techniques to encourage contributions: a matching grant, and a provision point mechanism. The results offer the first empirical evidence on the effectiveness of these mechanisms in a developing country setting, and the first comparison of the mechanisms in a field experiment. Using detailed survey data on participants and their social networks, I examine what characteristics explain individuals’ contribution decisions. Controlling for wealth and other characteristics, I find that individuals who are more trusted by their peers contribute significantly more, but this result is not explained by their status alone. On the contrary, I find that new migrants to the community and individuals from minority ethnic groups donate more than individuals with higher status and a longer history in the community.
Walker, T.F. Community Involvement in Public Goods Provision: Evidence From a Field Experiment in Ghana. International Growth Centre (IGC), London, UK (2011) 28 pp.