Institutional Clash: Empirical Evidence from Case Studies

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


This chapter is based on ongoing projects in the region. It considers the “clashing of institutions” paradigm in more detail. We assess four case studies. We look at how the expansion of commercial agrarian activity impacts the enclave rural community and study the impact of a large-scale agrarian direct foreign investment project in biofuels in rural Sierra Leone. A second case assesses the clash between hierarchical ordering and the enclave and highlights how communities coped with the international top-down response to the recent outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease. We then look at a new form of institutional hybridity brought about by the expansion of markets that helped to pacify rebellious rural youth in Liberia and Sierra Leone. As an aside, we discuss how the advance of markets impacted on community norms and witchcraft accusations. A fourth case shows how attempts to commercialize agriculture may fail, and highlights the need for a better grasp of institutional hybridity.


  1. Arezki, Rabah, Klaus Deininger, and Harris Selod. 2013. What Drives the Global “Land Rush”? The World Bank Economic Review 29 (2): 1–27.Google Scholar
  2. Chauveau, Jean-Pierre, and Paul Richards. 2008. West African Insurgencies in Agrarian Perspective: Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone Compared. Journal of Agrarian Change 8 (4): 515–552. Scholar
  3. Christensen, Darin, Alexandra Hartman, and Cyrus Samii. 2018. Property Rights, Investment and Land Grabs: An Institutional Natural Experiment in Liberia. Unpublished Paper.Google Scholar
  4. Garske, Tini, Anne Cori, Archchun Ariyarajah, Isobel M. Blake, Ilaria Dorigatti, Tim Eckmanns, Cristophe Fraser, et al. 2017. Heterogeneities in the Case Fatality Ratio in the West African Ebola Outbreak 2013–2016. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 372 (1721). Scholar
  5. Hofman, Paul, Esther Mokuwa, Paul Richards, and Maarten Voors. 2018. Local Economy Effects of Large-Scale Agricultural Investments. Working Paper.Google Scholar
  6. ICAP. 2015. Rapid Mixed Methods Assessment of the Ebola Community Care Centre Model in Sierra Leone. ICAP, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Jenkins, J., E. Mokuwa, K. Peters, and P. Richards, 2018. From Mercantilism to Petty Trade: A Gendered Assessment of the Impact of the Motorcycle Taxi in Rural Sierra Leone. Working Paper.Google Scholar
  8. Mokuwa, Esther. 2018. Institutional Factors in the Ebola Response, the Case of Community Care Centres. Working Paper.Google Scholar
  9. Mokuwa, Esther, Maarten Voors, Erwin Bulte, and Paul Richards. 2011. Peasant Grievance and Insurgency in Sierra Leone: Judicial Serfdom as a Driver of Conflict. African Affairs 110 (440): 339–366. Scholar
  10. Pronyk, Paul, Braeden Rogers, Sylvia Lee, Aarunima Bhatnagar, Yaron Wolman, Roeland Monasch, David Hipgrave, Peter Salama, Adam Kucharski, and Mickey Chopra. 2016. The Effect of Community-Based Prevention and Care on Ebola Transmission in Sierra Leone. American Journal of Public Health 106 (4): 727–732.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Richards, Paul. 1986. Coping with Hunger: Hazard and Experiment in an African Rice-Farming System. London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  12. ———. 2005. To Fight or to Farm? Agrarian Dimensions of the Mano River Conflicts (Liberia and Sierra Leone). African Affairs 104: 417: 571–590. Scholar
  13. ———. 2016. Ebola: How a People’s Science Helped End an Epidemic. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  14. Richards, Paul, and Esther Mokuwa. 2014. Farming for Business in Sierra Leone. An unpublished report on the Agricultural Business Centers, Njala University.Google Scholar
  15. Richards, Paul, Esther Mokuwa, and Maarten Voors. 2018. Large-Scale Agricultural Land Acquisition in Sierra Leone: A Clash of Institutions? Working Paper.Google Scholar
  16. van de Grijspaarde, Huib, Maarten Voors, Erwin Bulte, and Paul Richards. 2013. Who Believes in Witches? Moral Ambiguity and Institutional Flux in Post-War Rural Sierra Leone. African Affairs 112/446: 22–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Whitty, Christopher J.M., Jeremy Farrar, Ferguson Neil, W. John Edmunds, Peter Piot, Melissa Leach, and Sally C. Davies. 2014. Infectious Disease: Tough Choices to Reduce Ebola Transmission. Nature 515 (7526): 192–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations