Economic Governance and Social Capital
: A Case Study of Ghana’s Cocoa Industry

  • Prince Abbey

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Traditional analysis of governance has focused mainly on the problems of ‘collective action’ among industry participants (Boix & Posner, 1998). However, as pointed out in the literature on ‘Strategic Choice’ there is also the tendency to ignore the wills, aspirations and voices of a majority of participants in formulating governance policies resulting in a state of ‘strategic failure’ and governance structures that are hierarchical in nature (Cowling & Sugden, 1998). However, apart from the top-down relationships that could emerge between participants in such industrial settings, there are also varying social connections that may exist in such industries and these social engagements are known to help build governance structures that are less hierarchical and more involved (Putnam, 1993). These issues of hierarchy in governance and the social capital that is present within industries form the basis for this thesis. We make use of original interview and questionnaire data from major participants in the cocoa industry of Ghana – including 300 cocoa farmers – to test the hypothesis that social capital can act as a counter or form of ‘shield’ for bottom-of-the pyramid participants against the adverse consequences of the concentration of power and decision making in the hands of a few people at the top of a hierarchical governance structure. Our results confirm a positive relationship existing between social capital and perceptions of good governance. However, social capital and governance perceptions differ significantly between the poor and the rich undermining the importance of the social relations of the poorest participants in improving their engagement and welfare in the industry. More effective associations can however, improve such participation and industry bodies should act as conduits for facilitating wider stakeholder participation, enhancing social capital and shared values, and fostering consensus for socio-economic development.
Date of Award1 May 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorPhil Tomlinson (Supervisor) & Rob Branston (Supervisor)

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