Even within small geographical areas, rural villages with similar resource endowments, cultures and political clout sometimes exhibit substantial disparities in development. Why? Drawing on fieldwork in Tajikistan, this study analyzes the impact of village leadership and collective action on rural development in economically backward countries. Interviews and focus group sessions conducted in local languages found that trust in a village leader is critical to the willingness and ability of the community to work together and contribute household savings to communal development projects. Trust emerges when the quality of leadership provided to a community is perceived as high. The greater the degree of trust, the greater villagers motivation to plan and implement projects that enhance their material well-being. Ultimately, the amount of collective action by a community significantly affects the amount of development the village is able to generate, both from its own resources and from external aid it can attract.
Dina Spechler, Defne Jones and Navruz Nekbakhtshoev, "Collective Action for Rural Village Development", Development 58:2 (2017).