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Subdividing the commons: the politics of property rights transformation in Kenya's Maasailand

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  • Mwangi, Esther
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    Abstract

    "This paper discusses the internal processes and decisions that characterized the transition from collectively held group ranches to individualized property systems among the Maasai pastoralists of Kajiado district in Kenya. It addresses the question of why group ranch members would demand individualized property systems, but then turn against the outcome. In addressing this puzzle the paper discusses the process of land allocation and distribution during group ranch subdivision. It examines who the main actors were during subdivision, their degree of latitude in crafting and changing rules, and the interactions between Maasai and state institutions. Findings suggest that, because the process by which property rights change is so intertwined with politics, we may need to move beyond economic models of relative price changes and state enforcement in order to better understand such transitions. Models that accommodate competition by actors and the possibility that state actors may not provide the arbitration or enforcement that is often taken for granted are more useful for analyzing the complexities of shifting property rights. When the possibility for conflict and competition is factored into the property rights equation, the relative gains from privatizing/individualizing may not be as large or as obvious as anticipated." Author's Abstract

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    File URL: http://www.capri.cgiar.org/pdf/capriwp46.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series CAPRi working papers with number 46.

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    Date of creation: 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:fpr:worpps:46

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    Keywords: Property rights; Pastoralism; Kenya; Land tenure; Commons; Group ranches; Policies; Environmental management; Devolution;

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    1. Anderson, Terry L & Hill, Peter J, 1975. "The Evolution of Property Rights: A Study of the American West," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 163-79, April.
    2. Alchian, Armen A. & Demsetz, Harold, 1973. "The Property Right Paradigm," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(01), pages 16-27, March.
    3. Knox, Anna & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela & Hazell, P. B. R., 1998. "Property rights, collective action and technologies for natural resource management: a conceptual framework," CAPRi working papers 1, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Banner, Stuart, 2002. "Transitions between Property Regimes," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages S359-71, June.
    5. Pranab Bardhan., 1987. "Alternative Approaches to the Theory of Institutions in Economic Development," Economics Working Papers 8761, University of California at Berkeley.
    6. Munoz-Pina, Carlos & de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2003. "Re-crafting rights over common property resources in Mexico," CUDARE Working Paper Series 984, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
    7. Mwangi, Esther, 2006. "The footprints of history: path dependence in the transformation of property rights in Kenya's Maasailand," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(02), pages 157-180, August.
    8. Meinzen-Dick, Ruth S. & Brown, Lynn R. & Feldstein, Hilary Sims & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 1997. "Gender, property rights, and natural resources," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 1303-1315, August.
    9. Edella Schlager & Elinor Ostrom, 1992. "Property-Rights Regimes and Natural Resources: A Conceptual Analysis," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 68(3), pages 249-262.
    10. Jean-Marie Baland & Jean-Philippe Platteau, 1998. "Division of the Commons: A Partial Assessment of the New Institutional Economics of Land Rights," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(3), pages 644-650.
    11. Jodha, N.S., 1992. "Common Property Resources; A Missing Dimension of development Strategies," World Bank - Discussion Papers 168, World Bank.
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