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Comparing Forest Decentralization and Local Institutional Change in Bolivia, Kenya, Mexico, and Uganda


  • Coleman, Eric A.
  • Fleischman, Forrest D.


In this paper we assess the institutional and environmental impacts of forest decentralization in Bolivia, Kenya, Mexico, and Uganda. We develop theories of institutional impacts based upon the specific content of decentralization reforms. We classify each country’s reforms in terms of the creation/change in local user group empowerment and accountability mechanisms. Using data from the International Forestry Resources and Institutions Program, we estimate the effects of forest decentralization on local forest investments, rulemaking, wealth inequality, and forest conditions in the four countries. Some results support our theory, but the theory is insufficient to explain the full range of outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Coleman, Eric A. & Fleischman, Forrest D., 2012. "Comparing Forest Decentralization and Local Institutional Change in Bolivia, Kenya, Mexico, and Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 836-849.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:40:y:2012:i:4:p:836-849
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2011.09.008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eric A. Coleman, 2009. "Institutional factors affecting biophysical outcomes in forest management," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(1), pages 122-146.
    2. Bray, David Barton & Antinori, Camille & Torres-Rojo, Juan Manuel, 2006. "The Mexican model of community forest management: The role of agrarian policy, forest policy and entrepreneurial organization," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 470-484, June.
    3. Gordillo de Anda, Gustavo & Janvry, Alain de & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 1998. "Between political control and efficiency gains: the evolution of agrarian property rights in Mexico," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), December.
    4. 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.
    5. Coleman, Eric A. & Steed, Brian C., 2009. "Monitoring and sanctioning in the commons: An application to forestry," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 2106-2113, May.
    6. Alberto Abadie & David Drukker & Jane Leber Herr & Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Implementing matching estimators for average treatment effects in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 290-311, September.
    7. Dilip Mookherjee & Pranab K. Bardhan, 2000. "Capture and Governance at Local and National Levels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 135-139, May.
    8. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:04:p:501-514_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Andersson, Krister P. & Gibson, Clark C. & Lehoucq, Fabrice, 2006. "Municipal politics and forest governance: Comparative analysis of decentralization in Bolivia and Guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 576-595, March.
    10. Andersson, Krister P., 2004. "Who Talks with Whom? The Role of Repeated Interactions in Decentralized Forest Governance," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-249, February.
    11. Pellegrini, L., 2009. "Forest management in Bolivia, Honduras and Nicaragua : reform failures?," ISS Working Papers - General Series 18719, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    12. Krister Andersson & Clark C. Gibson, 2007. "Decentralized governance and environmental change: Local institutional moderation of deforestation in Bolivia," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(1), pages 99-123.
    13. Sabatier, Paul A., 1986. "Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches to Implementation Research: a Critical Analysis and Suggested Synthesis," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 21-48, January.
    14. Hayes, Tanya M., 2006. "Parks, People, and Forest Protection: An Institutional Assessment of the Effectiveness of Protected Areas," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2064-2075, December.
    15. Gibson, Clark C. & Williams, John T. & Ostrom, Elinor, 2005. "Local Enforcement and Better Forests," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 273-284, February.
    16. Ribot, Jesse C. & Agrawal, Arun & Larson, Anne M., 2006. "Recentralizing While Decentralizing: How National Governments Reappropriate Forest Resources," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(11), pages 1864-1886, November.
    17. repec:cup:apsrev:v:99:y:2005:i:03:p:327-346_05 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Epstein, Graham & Vogt, Jessica & Cox, Michael & Shimek, Luke, 2014. "Confronting problems of method in the study of sustainability," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 42-50.
    2. Lambini, Cosmas Kombat & Nguyen, Trung Thanh, 2014. "A comparative analysis of the effects of institutional property rights on forest livelihoods and forest conditions: Evidence from Ghana and Vietnam," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 178-190.

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    Bolivia; Kenya; Mexico; Uganda; decentralization; forestry;


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