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Land tenure and conflict resolution: a game theoretic approach in the Narok district in Kenya


Many conflicts in many parts of the developing world can be traced to disputes over land ownership, land use and land degradation. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that information asymmetries among various principals within these countries in land tenure and market systems have caused marginalization of some principals by the others. A sustained process of marginalization driven by these asymmetries has inevitably caused the disadvantaged to revolt resulting in many cases in violent clashes. In this paper, we develop a game theoretic model to test our hypothesis by analyzing the complex interdependencies existing among the various principals in the Narok District in Kenya. Violent clashes have been increasing in the district since the first outbreak in 1993. Preliminary results seem to confirm our hypothesis that asymmetrical information structures among the various principals over land and agricultural markets could have been the catalytic forces for these conflicts. In order to reduce these discrepancies, we recommend two institutional reforms. The first involves the adoption of a hybrid land tenure system whereby land ownership is based on individual titles while the use and sale of the land is governed by communal rules established by a community participatory proceeds. The second recommendation involves the formation of an information network comprising of all principals with the main objective of it being a forum for exchange of ideas and information pertaining to land use options and the opportunities offered by the market system.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Environment and Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 9 (2004)
Issue (Month): 03 (July)
Pages: 383-407

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Handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:9:y:2004:i:03:p:383-407_00
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