Pargal, Sheoli

South Asia Sustainable Development
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Infrastructure economics; infrastructure regulation; energy policy; public-private partnerships; India; Bangladesh
South Asia Sustainable Development
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Sheoli Pargal is an Economic Adviser in the World Bank’s department for Sustainable Development for South Asia.  She has worked across infrastructure sectors on a range of topics including regulation and governance, private sector participation, public-private partnerships, and industrial pollution, with a focus on analytical and technical advisory work.  In twenty years at the World Bank she has had assignments in the research department; Latin America, Eastern Europe and South Asia; and corporate policy and operations units. She has also worked in the Planning Commission in India. Ms. Pargal has a Ph.D in Economics from Northwestern University and B.A. and M.A. degrees in economics from St. Stephen’s College and the Delhi School of Economics at Delhi University.

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    Private Provision of a Public Good : Social Capital and Solid Waste Management in Dhaka, Bangladesh
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2000-08) Pargal, Sheoli ; Gilligan, Daniel ; Huq, Mainul
    The authors try to identify the determinants of private, community-based provision of a public good - in this case, trash collection. Using survey data for Dhaka, Bangladesh, where some neighborhoods have successfully organized an alternative to the municipal trash collection service, they examine why some communities or neighborhoods display such initiative, while others do not. Their results show that social capital - trust, reciprocity, and sharing - is an important determinant of whether alternative systems arise in Dhaka. More generally, public-private partnerships, or self-help schemes appear more likely to succeed in neighborhoods high in social capital. Other measures of homogeneity of interests are also important. So, interestingly, is the nature of associational activity. Finally, education levels are strongly, and robustly associated with the existence of collective action for trash disposal. How can policymakers encourage such activity? The process through which community residents start cooperating for the common good, is a function of the strength of their relationships. Government attempts to initiate the process, are therefore unlikely to boost social capital directly, but by lowering information, and transaction costs, they may facilitate a virtuous cycle of successful cooperation, and strengthening social ties.