The importance of Ostrom's design principles : youth group performance in Northern Ethiopia
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Youth unemployment and migration are growing challenges that need more political attention in many countries, particularly countries with rapid population growth and economic transformation. Proactively mobilizing the youth as a resource in the creation of sustainable livelihoods can potentially be a win-win-win solution that Ethiopia is currently attempting. The new youth employment strategy includes allocation of rehabilitated communal lands to youth groups. This study investigates the extent to which Ostrom’s Design Principles (DPs) are followed and matter for the early performance of youth groups in terms of their stability, trust and overall performance. Data from a census of 742 youth groups in five districts in Tigray in northern Ethiopia is used. This study utilizes econometric methods to assess correlations between the DPs and a range of early performance indicators. The study contributes to the limited literature on local collective action utilizing large samples. We find a high degree of compliance with the DPs. Some of the DPs appeared more important for early performance of the youth groups. The Ethiopian youth group approach to mobilize landless and unemployed youth is promising and should be tested elsewhere. Further longitudinal research is needed on the Ethiopian model as it is still at an early stage of testing as most groups are less than five years old.