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Shepherds and Their Leaders Among the Raikas of India

Arun Agrawal

Journal of Theoretical Politics, 1997, vol. 9, issue 2, 235-263

Abstract: This article explicates the logic of decision-making among raika shepherds in western India to set the stage for a simple principal-agent model that I deploy to analyze leader-led relations among the raikas. Using detailed information on strategies followed by the shepherds to control their leader, the paper formalizes significant features of the context in which the raikas earn their subsistence. Information and direct monitoring emerge as the chief variables that allow an equilibrium where the agent (leader) seldom cheats and the principals (shepherds) seldom sanction. The article briefly explores the relevance of the findings to other rural contexts where communities are small, and community members periodically select leaders and interact regularly and closely with each other.

Keywords: raikas; principal-agent; Rajasthan; nomadic pastoralism; monitoring (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1997
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DOI: 10.1177/0951692897009002005

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Handle: RePEc:sae:jothpo:v:9:y:1997:i:2:p:235-263