GIGA Seminar in Socio-Economics

Community Aspirations and Collective Action – Evidence from two Experiments

Lecture by Menusch Khadjavi Pour on joint work with Christina Martini und Marcela Ibanez




12:00 Uhr (MEZ)


13:15 Uhr (MEZ)

Blick auf die Skyline von Mumbai mit dem Bandra Slum
© / f9photos
Blick auf die Skyline von Mumbai mit dem Bandra Slum
© / f9photos

  • We propose that community aspirations, defined as the long-term goals and desires that individuals set for their community's well-being, can be an important determinant of cooperation in collective action problems. To this end, we conceptualize community aspirations and provide an economic model that explains how community aspirations can affect cooperation. A key prediction of the model is that a rise in community aspirations can result in higher contributions to the public good. To explore the internal and external validity of this prediction, we use two experiments in rural Zambia, where collective action is essential for poverty reduction and equitable development. We implemented a novel questionnaire to measure community aspirations and provide supportive evidence on the positive relation between voluntary contributions to the public good and community aspirations. The experimental conditions allow us to test the relative effectiveness of different interventions that aim at testing how to lift community aspirations and explore the mechanisms by which these interventions affect cooperation. Based on this evidence, we regard (fostering) roles models as promising alternative to motivate collective action.

    Speaker: Menusch Khadjavi Pour (Associate Professor of Economics at the Department of Spatial Economics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

    Attendance: If you like to participate in the seminar (online or on-site), please send an email beforehand to:


    German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Neuer Jungfernstieg 21, 20354 Hamburg, and online



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