Chapter

Social capital, survival strategies, and their potential forpost-conflict governance in Liberia

Amos Sawyer

in Linking the Formal and Informal Economy

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780199204762
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603860 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199204764.003.0013

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

 Social capital, survival strategies, and their potential forpost-conflict governance in Liberia

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Post-conflict reconstruction strategies typically focus on identifying and repairing formal governing institutions and physical infrastructures, and tend to ignore the informal arrangements that sustain people over years of state failure. This paper shows how informal institutions were critical to the survival of local people during state collapse and violent conflicts in Liberia. It argues that there are very healthy informal arrangements that can become important building blocks in post-conflict governance arrangements if used to buttress formal institutions, and that unlocking such capital is important in enabling people to make transitions from short-term survival strategies to more productive long-term arrangements. Failure to recognize these assets have frequently led to the presumption of a social capital deficit and, therefore, the need to look externally for such a resource.

Keywords: formal institutions; informal institutions; post-conflict; reconstruction; governance; social capital; survival strategies

Chapter.  6249 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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