Chiefs and Chieftaincy

  • Erwin Bulte
  • Paul Richards
  • Maarten Voors
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Agricultural Economics and Food Policy book series (AEFP)


Chieftaincy is a key institutional feature in Upper West Africa. We discuss how various levels of chiefs serve as brokers between all four of elementary institutional orderings. Especially, chieftaincy links the formal government hierarchy and the village enclave. We provide both a historical and contemporary account of chiefs and delve into their role in the success (or failure) of development projects, look at attempts to transform chieftaincy through attempts to make chiefs more inclusive and democratic, and their important role in helping communities cope with shocks, such as the Ebola virus crisis of 2014–2015.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erwin Bulte
    • 1
  • Paul Richards
    • 2
  • Maarten Voors
    • 1
  1. 1.Development Economics GroupWageningen University and ResearchWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Directorate of Research and PlanningNjala UniversityMokondeSierra Leone

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