The paper is published as a New Journal Paper and can be downloaded here.
Abstract of the paper Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate how social network capital may facilitate
agricultural household market access in Uganda. Specifically, the paper investigates if social
network capital has significant positive effects on the ability of households to receive higher prices for
Design/methodology/approach – In this paper, social network capital is modeled using a
household utility maximisation problem that is dependent on consumption and social interactions.
The authors assume that social network capital mediates economic benefits through its effect on
information flow, market intelligence and collective bargaining. The paper uses two-stage least square
econometric methods to investigate whether group involvement at the household level helps farmers to
access markets with higher prices.
Findings – The findings indicate that social network capital, measured in form of density of
participation and attendance score, and multiplicative and additive indices of these, have significant
positive effects on the ability to receive higher prices for coffee.
Research limitations/implications – The authors realise that several weaknesses in the approach
could compromise the validity of the findings. These weaknesses include: the cross-sectional nature of
the data, the omitted variable bias, the endogeneity concerns of social capital, sample size and the
dimensions that the paper choses to capture social network capital. Future research should explore
the factors that can help households to engage more in group activities.
Practical implications – The findings have important implications for government policy
especially in areas of agricultural development and poverty reduction. Specifically, governments
should pay close attention to various social groups as they can serve as important channels to achieve
better market outcomes, as is the for coffee prices in rural Uganda.
Social implications – Many governments in Sub Saharan Africa are constrained to provide basic
public goods to the people. This is due to a combination of limited budgets and lack of good leadership. In such circumstances, the people have to rely on their collective/social effort to take advantage of markets opportunities. Such opportunities can be accessed using the existing social structures whose norms and the trust between members permit cooperation.
Originality/value – The study contributes to a small but growing empirical literature on social
groups and how they can mediate social economic outcomes especially for rural households.
The empirical estimations take into consideration the endogeinety concerns associated with social interest in the roles that group activities play in agricultural development and poverty reduction.