Psychological Agency: Evidence from the Urban Fringe of Bamako

OPHI Working Papers

There is a large deficit in the theorisation of psychological elements of agency and empowerment in the development literature. Instead, empowerment is generally defined as a favourable opportunity structure, as choice, or as the distribution of power. Further still, an examination of the psychological literature reveals a lack of empirical research related to non-Western contexts and development policy. In view of this, I present the results of an empirical study using inductive mixed methods to examine the central factors contributing to initiatives people undertake to improve personal and collective well-being. Informants articulated that the psychological concepts of dusu (internal motivation) and ka da I yèrè la (self-efficacy) were most important to their purposeful agency. 

Author: Elise Klein

Year: 2014

Citation: E. Klein. (2014). 'Psychological agency: Evidence from the urban fringe of Bamako', OPHI Working Papers 69, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

Also published in World Development, 2014, Vol. 64, pp. 642–653.

Psychological agency, agency, empowerment, Mali, social development
Sub-Saharan Africa

Elise Klein
Series Name
OPHI Working Papers
Publication date
JEL Codes
Z1, Z100, Z13
Publication Number
WP 69