Leadership on the Commons: Wealth Distribution, Co-Provision and Service Delivery

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"Studies of co-management projects have pointed to an ambiguous role for heterogeneity in fostering collective action. In a study we undertook in 2000 we reported on the positive effect of heterogeneity in fostering collective action in watershed management. This paper highlights the limitations of approaches that employ a narrow historiography to infer general and predictive theories based on a re-study of entrepreneur led collective action at our original study site. By employing innovative methodology, our re-study sought to systematically link major features of social organization and differential wealth and power embedded in the local-national linkages of states to the outcomes of effective leadership. we found that social difference and increasing group size may not propose a threat to leaders when compared to a perception that some are accumulating wealth while others are in need. Social hierarchies rooted in a moral economy may foster cooperation especially because not all people within a community can be relied upon to live by their internalized ethical rules and contribute their fair share. From a methodological point of view therefore, how one integrates conceptualization of forms of heterogeneity with recognition of their axis of influence depending on the attributes of field-level situations is critical for analysis of collective action."
irrigation, leadership, collective action, heterogeneity, commons, provision