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Leveraging Social Cohesion for Development Outcomes

Shreya Chatterjee, Marine Gassier, Nikolas Myint (2023)

Key facts

Journal/Publisher
Policy research working papers
Type of publication
Working paper
Elements of social cohesion
Trust
Intergroup relations
Identity/feeling of belonging
Participation
Cooperation
Connectedness
Geographical focus
Europe and Central Asia
Middle East and North Africa
South Asia
Latin America and Caribbean
Sub-Saharan Africa
East Asia and Pacific
North America
Main thematic areas
Economic development
Concept & measurement
Development cooperation

Summary

Efforts to promote social cohesion through development projects have had to contend with multiple definitions of the term, a lack of clarity on diagnostic and measurement approaches, and contradictory evidence on the effectiveness of different types of interventions meant to repair or reinforce it. This paper first offers a definition of social cohesion that highlights three sets of relations: those connecting individuals within a community (bonding), those connecting individuals across distinct communities (bridging), and those connecting individuals to people and structures in a position of power (linking). Together, these three dimensions constitute a framework for diagnosing gaps in social cohesion, assessing trends, and prioritizing interventions and investments. The paper also outlines strategies for diagnosing gaps in social cohesion and tracking trends along these three dimensions, providing concrete recommendations for teams designing social cohesion measurement strategies. Finally, the paper reviews the evidence on what works to reinforce cohesion within community, to build trust across groups, and to strengthen citizen-state relations. This review highlights different types of intervention that can help promote social cohesion, while suggesting that their effectiveness is conditional on sound diagnoses and rigorous implementation processes.

Publication_2023_Shreya Chatterjee, Marine Gassier, Nikolas Myint

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