Managing Wild Resources: Institutional Choice and the Recovery of Resource Rent in Southwest China
Managing harvests from natural resource systems is often seen as necessary to recover resource rent, that is, for wise and sustainable use. This paper develops a method to estimate resource rent recovery for a class of nontimber forest products and, using a unique dataset on the harvest of wild mushrooms in southwestern China, we empirically estimate this in open access, common access, and privately managed forests. We show that villages that lack rules (open access) do not always perform poorly. We explore how geographic context, resource endowments, transaction costs, and institutional goals may drive incentives for developing self-governing institutions.
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