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Qualitative data from a case study of the Jamaica social investment fund reveal that the social fund process is elite-driven and decision-making tends to be dominated by a small group of motivated individuals. However, there is broad-based satisfaction with the outcome. Quantitative data from 500 households mirror these findings by showing that, ex-ante, the social fund does not address the expressed needs of the majority of individuals in the majority of communities. By the completion of the project, however, 80 per cent of the community expresses satisfaction with the outcome. An analysis of the determinants of participation reveals that better educated and better networked individuals dominate the process. Propensity-score analysis demonstrates that JSIF has had a causal impact on improvements in trust and the capacity for collective action, but these gains are greater for elites.