Dynamic Interactions between the Macro-Environment, Development Thinking and Group Behaviour

Development Studies Working Paper No. 143

49 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2001

See all articles by Frances Stewart

Frances Stewart

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 2000

Abstract

This paper explores the hypothesis that groups' behaviour is greatly influenced by the societal environment in which they operate. It does so by looking at societal norms over three eras in developing countries, and the ways in which these affected behaviour at a micro-level as evidenced by the health sector. In the Colonial (and neo-colonial) era macro-norms were hierarchical and based on power relationships; in the post-world war two era, the dominant norms combined power and control with a more cooperative rhetoric; while in the post-1980 era, macro-norms have leaned heavily towards markets and monetary incentives as a way of organising behaviour. It is shown that micro-behaviour in the health sector largely reflects these macro-norms, with the organisation and incentives of health institutions following the sort of incentive system favoured at a macro-level, although in each era, exceptions can be observed, and many organisations combine different elements of behaviour. It is noted that in the most recent era, excessive reliance on monetary incentives is tending to undermine trust and cooperation, and that this may endanger the efficiency as well as the equity of outcomes since trust and cooperation are generally important ingredients of both efficiency and equity.

Suggested Citation

Stewart, Frances, Dynamic Interactions between the Macro-Environment, Development Thinking and Group Behaviour (November 2000). Development Studies Working Paper No. 143, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=250756 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.250756

Frances Stewart (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Manor Road Building
Oxford, OX1 3BJ, Oxfordshire OX13UQ
United Kingdom

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