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Social Capital and Basic Goods: The Cautionary Example of Drinking Water in India. Sripad Motiram Lars Osberg Department of Economics Dalhousie University. The paper in one slide. Uses Indian Time Use Survey, 1998-99 77,593 persons (53,981 rural, 23,612 urban)

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Social Capital and Basic Goods: The Cautionary Example of Drinking Water in India


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    1. Social Capital and Basic Goods:The Cautionary Example of Drinking Water in India Sripad Motiram Lars Osberg Department of Economics Dalhousie University

    2. The paper in one slide • Uses Indian Time Use Survey, 1998-99 • 77,593 persons (53,981 rural, 23,612 urban) • Asks: Why do some households fetch water? • Collective action needed for public infrastructure • “Social Capital” – but is it “Bridging” or “Bonding” ? • Novelty – time use measures of social capital compared to cleavages of wealth and caste • “Community” time is positive BUT “group” time is negative • Inequality of land ownership has larger impact • Urban areas – home ownership, occupation crucial • Cautionary tale • ‘Civic Society’ may be + or – for development • Traditional cleavages of wealth and caste dominate in India

    3. Water: A Basic Necessity of Life – unequally provided • Water - Minimum for survival = 5 liters/day +cooking, washing, sanitation = 20 liters/day/person • Fetching water is physically demanding work • Time – Scarce Resource • Gendered Task within Households • Collecting water takes time away from other productive activities & human capital formation • Poorest citizens of poorest countries affected • But water collection time not part of “poverty” measures

    4. Indian Time Use Survey,1998-99 • Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Orissa, Tamil Nadu. • 233 million population • Stratified Random Sampling (NSS). • Density of Population, Density of Scheduled Tribes • 18,592 Households. • 12,751 rural, 5,841 urban. • 77,593 persons. • 53,981 rural, 23,612 urban. • Interview Method. • Male + female interviewer – visit for week • Diary of day’s activities for all persons aged 6+ • Normal / Abnormal / Weekly variant – normal used

    5. Indian Time Use Survey,1998-99

    6. Context • 18.6 % of rural households fetch water. • average 47 minutes per day • 11.5% of urban households fetch water • average 42 minutes per day • Highly gendered task: • Women do 87% of it.

    7. Time Spent Fetching Water

    8. Water Collection by Gender, Age

    9. Water Collection by Gender, Age

    10. Why do some households have to fetch water? • Economies of Scale + need for access rights imply collective action required for water supply systems • Water Supply illustrates two linked issues: • Problem of organizing collective action. • Distribution of the benefits of collective action • Both issues are crucial to development • Current debate emphasizes “Social Capital” • This paper examines: • Relative importance of Social Capital in India versus “Traditional” cleavages • “Bridging” in community or “Bonding” in groups ?

    11. Which Households fetch water? • Two issues • Locality has supply. • Individual household can connect. • Individual Household Characteristics • e.g. Occupation, Wealth and Caste. • Why do community characteristics matter? • Organization of public infrastructure provision. • Why difficulty in organizing? • Mistrust + divergence of interests. • Novelty of this paper – Direct time use measures of social interaction can be compared to cleavages of wealth and caste.

    12. A Simple Model of benefits of tap water • Fixed cost well + variable cost of piping compared to time cost of fetching water

    13. Simple Model (2) • Total Cost = Fixed Cost + Marginal Cost + Negotiation Cost • = f(Mistrust, Divergent Interests)

    14. Probability of community tap water • P1 = f(b0 , b1D, b2 ,σ) • Technical cost of construction • b0 = fixed cost of well, b1 = piping cost per meter,D = distance • Negotiation Cost • b2 = mistrust, social capital • Divergent Interests • σ= income and wealth inequality, distance

    15. “Social Capital” & Development? • “Social Capital” = • “the norms and networks that enable collective action” (World Bank web site, Woolcock/Narayan 2000) • “connections among individuals – social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them” (Putnam, 2000) • Measured by: • “most people can be trusted?” (Knack & Keefer, 1997) • Membership in groups / associational life (Woolcock/Narayan 2000)

    16. Social Capital: + or - ? “Bridging” or “Bonding” ? • “Trust” • In general OR only among ‘kith and kin’ ? • Associational membership • “Bridging” social groups OR “bonding” members more tightly into narrow groups? • Building a broader community OR entrenching group divisions? • How to test the Social Capital Hypothesis ? • No natural units of measurement • Number of memberships? • Casual counted equally with intense involvement • “Trust” ? • Intensity not comparable inter-personally

    17. This paper – Direct time use measures of social interaction • Time - Natural unit of measurement for social interaction • Cardinal units – can be aggregated & compared inter-personally • impact can be compared to cleavages of wealth & caste • Differentiated by type of social interaction • Community Activities • Group Activities • Social Engagements • Casual encounters “Talking gossiping quarrelling”

    18. Individual household + community characteristics => compound probability of having tap water • Local availability requires collective action • Depends on mistrust, inequality, technical cost • P1 = f(b0 , b1D, b2 ,σ) • Access conditional on availability • Determined by household income & social exclusion by caste, tribe. etc • P2 = f(yi, Si) • Data reveals whether household spent time in water collection • P1 *P2 = f(b0 , b1D, b2 , σ, yi, Si)

    19. Econometric Issues • Unit of analysis • Water provision decided at district level? • Time use data for episodic events => expectation • Endogeneity • More time collecting water implies less for all other activities • But highly gendered activities imply male social time plausibly not affected • Community waterworks construction time • Dropped from community time category • Measure of Land Inequality • Proportion of Landless, Inequality among the landed • Theil, Square of CV, Gini • Measure of Expenditure Inequality • Theil, Square of CV, Gini

    20. “Community Services & Help to other households” time - can it be bad for collective action? • VI COMMUNITY SERVICES AND HELP TO OTHER HOUSEHOLDS • 611. COMMUNITY ORGANISED CONSTRUCTION AND REPAIRS: BUILDINGS, ROADS, DAMS, WELLS, PONDS ETC. COMMUNITY ASSETS. • 621. COMMUNITY ORGANISED WORK: COOKING FOR COLLECTIVE CELEBRATIONS, ETC. • 631. VOLUNTEERING WITH FOR AN ORGANISATION (WHICH DOES NOT INVOLVE WORKING DIRECTLY FOR INDIVIDUALS) • 641. VOLUNTEER WORK THROUGH ORGANISATIONS EXTENDED DIRECTLY TO INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS • 651. PARTICIPATION IN MEETINGS OF LOCAL AND INFORMAL GROUPS/CASTE, TRIBES, PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS, UNION, FRATERNAL AND POLITICAL ORGANISATIONS • 661 INVOLVEMENT IN CIVIC AND RELATED RESPONSIBILITIES: VOTING, RALLIES, ATTENDING MEETINGS, PANCHAYAT • 671. INFORMAL HELP TO OTHER HOUSEHOLDS • 681. COMMUNITY SERVICES NOT ELSEWHERE CLASSIFIED

    21. Disaggregation into “community” & “group” crucial • Aggregate “community & group” time is negatively & significantly associated with tap water access • But if entered separately • “Community” time is + • “Group” time is – • In the Indian context, caste relationships underlie volunteerism, direct help and associational life • Virtues of ‘civic society’ for development are historically & culturally specific

    22. Rural Results: Summary • Statistically Significant • Per-Capita Expenditure (+), Professional Status (+), Dependency Ratio (-), • %SC (-), % ST (-) • % Landless (-), Ineq among landed (+) • Talking, Gossiping and Quarreling (+), Social Activities (+), Community Time (+), Group Time (-) • Ground Water Per-Capita (+)

    23. Rural Results: Summary • Size • Land Inequality/Redistribution has the biggest impact • Community/Social Activities – modest impact

    24. Urban Results: Summary • Statistical Significance • Per-Capita Expenditure (+), Laborer (-), Professional (+), Homestead (+) • % SC, %ST • Talking, Gossiping and Quarreling (-), Community Time (+), Group Time (-)

    25. Urban Results: Summary • Size • Homestead Ownership has the biggest impact • Professional Status has a big impact • Community Activities – modest impact

    26. Conclusions & Implications • Social co-operation needed for local public goods supply • Social interaction helps, but in the Indian context group activities ‘bond’ into narrow interests, undermining collective action • Virtues of “civic society” are historically & culturally specific • Land reform + reduction of caste barriers are crucial in Indian context