Local institutions and rural development : evidence from Liberia

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Local institutions and rural development: Evidence from Liberia

This thesis focusses on the role of local (informal) institutions for development, based on data from Liberia.  I show that dense family networks can be an obstacle for economic decision making, due to strict income sharing obligations that often belong to them.  I also demonstrate the importance of local governance quality: corrupt village leaders negatively affect daily investment decisions by villagers.  Finally, I evaluate the impact of a rural development project that aims to strengthen food security and social cohesion between villagers.  The results indicate that the impact is marginal at most, and local institutions again do play a role.

Institutions are difficult to change, as they are rooted in an historical context. However, policy makers could support the emergence of alternative institutions. Either way, a deeper understanding of the far-going impact of local institutions is important: this research contributes to that.



Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Bulte, Erwin, Promotor
  • Nillesen, Lonneke, Co-promotor
Award date21 Oct 2015
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789462575080
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • rural development
  • families
  • networks
  • local area networks
  • social networks
  • institutions
  • microeconomic analysis
  • microeconomics
  • economic development
  • agricultural development
  • liberia
  • west africa


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