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More Social Capital, Less Erosion: Evidence From Peru'S Altiplano

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  • Swinton, Scott M.

Abstract

The debate over sustainable intensification has hinged on private incentives to abate land degradation. Largely missing is the role of social capital in both creating incentives and removing barriers to soil conservation. Yet soil conservation embodies the externality problem that bedevils so many aspects of natural resource management. Action by one farmer to reduce water or wind erosion may benefit neighboring fields by slowing the rate of water or wind movement across those lands. Yet these benefits are not fully captured by the farmer making the conservation investment. However, when economic agents care for one another, these externalities can be internalized, reducing the individualÂ’'s disincentive to perform a socially level of natural resource conservation. Likewise, community organizations may provide collective capital and labor to overcome adoption barriers faced by individuals. The twin hypotheses that 1) farming practices influence soil erosion and 2) social capital influences the adoption of sustainable farming practices are tested with data from a 1999 survey of 197 farms in the Peruvian Altiplano around Lake Titicaca. The survey used cluster sampling of farms in villages to represent each of three arable agro-ecological zones in the Ilave-Huenque river basin. Relative asset levels were used to stratify resident households within villages. Personal interviews collected a wide range of data on farm household assets, management practices, and status of agricultural natural resources.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2000 Annual meeting, July 30-August 2, Tampa, FL with number 21853.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea00:21853

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Keywords: International Relations/Trade; Land Economics/Use;

References

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  1. Bebbington, Anthony, 1999. "Capitals and Capabilities: A Framework for Analyzing Peasant Viability, Rural Livelihoods and Poverty," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(12), pages 2021-2044, December.
  2. Clay, Daniel & Reardon, Thomas & Kangasniemi, Jaakko, 1998. "Sustainable Intensification in the Highland Tropics: Rwandan Farmers' Investments in Land Conservation and Soil Fertility," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 351-77, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Rodriguez, Luis Carlos & Pascual, Unai, 2004. "Land clearance and social capital in mountain agro-ecosystems: the case of Opuntia scrubland in Ayacucho, Peru," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 243-252, June.
  2. Wollni, Meike & Lee, David R. & Thies, Janice E., 2008. "Effects of participation in organic markets and farmer-based organizations on adoption of soil conservation practices among small-scale farmers in Honduras," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6423, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  3. Robison, Lindon J. & Siles, Marcelo E. & Schmid, A. Allan, 2002. "Social Capital And Poverty Reduction: Toward A Mature Paradigm," Agricultural Economic Report Series 10941, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.

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