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Heterogeneity and Common Pool Resources: Collective Management of Forests in Himachal Pradesh, India

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  • Sirisha C. Naidu

    ()
    (Wright State University)

Abstract

In the past two decades, theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that communities of resource users are capable of overcoming social dilemmas, and are capable of creating and sustaining institutions designed to prevent degradation of common pool natural resources. However, there is incomplete understanding of what motivates this group-level behavior and why some communities are better adept at solving collective action problems than others. This paper specifically explores the role of group heterogeneity in collective action among forest communities in the northwestern Himalayas. Heterogeneity can have important social and ecological consequences and understanding both its nature and effects can help in neutralizing the negative and enhancing the positive. Based on data from 54 forest communities in Himachal Pradesh, India, this paper finds that heterogeneity has at least three dimensions: wealth, identity and interest, and each may significantly affect collective actions related to natural resource management. However, their effects are far from simple and linear.

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File URL: http://courses.umass.edu/resec/workingpapers/documents/resecworkingpaper2005-8.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Resource Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2005-8.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dre:wpaper:2005-8

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Keywords: common pool resources; group outcomes; heterogeneity; forests;

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  1. Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Inequality and Group Participation: Theory and Evidence from Rural Tanzania," Development Working Papers 138, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  2. Agarwal, Bina, 1994. "Gender and command over property: A critical gap in economic analysis and policy in South Asia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(10), pages 1455-1478, October.
  3. Kant, Shashi, 2000. "A dynamic approach to forest regimes in developing economies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 287-300, February.
  4. Boyce, James K., 1994. "Inequality as a cause of environmental degradation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 169-178, December.
  5. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2001. "Social Capital and Community Governance," Working Papers 01-01-003, Santa Fe Institute.
  6. Baland, Jean-Marie & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1999. "The Ambiguous Impact of Inequality on Local Resource Management," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 773-788, May.
  7. Reddy, S. R. C. & Chakravarty, S. P., 1999. "Forest Dependence and Income Distribution in a Subsistence Economy: Evidence from India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 1141-1149, July.
  8. Agrawal, Arun & Gibson, Clark C., 1999. "Enchantment and Disenchantment: The Role of Community in Natural Resource Conservation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 629-649, April.
  9. James Boyce, 1994. "Inequality as a Cause of Environmental Degradation," Published Studies ps1, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
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