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The Tragedy of the Commons, Livestock Cycles and Sustainability

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  • Fafchamps, Marcel

Abstract

This paper revisits the tragedy of the commons and examines the conditions under which externalities contribute to livestock cycles. Using a stylised intertemporal model capturing the main characteristics of African livestock producers, we show that externalities magnify livestock cycles triggered by occasional droughts. This is true even when producers are fully rational. Two forces fuel such cycles: producers' concerns with consumption smoothing; and expected capital gains when demand for livestock products is inelastic. Implications regarding African livestock production are discussed. Copyright 1998 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Fafchamps, Marcel, 1998. "The Tragedy of the Commons, Livestock Cycles and Sustainability," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 7(3), pages 384-423, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:7:y:1998:i:3:p:384-423
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    Cited by:

    1. Baldwin, Katherine L. & DeVeau, Vanessa & Foster, Kenneth A. & Marshall, Maria I., 2008. "Traits Affecting Household Marketing Decisions in Rural Kenya," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6445, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    2. Baldwin, Katherine L. & Foster, Ken & Jones, Keithly, 2011. "A stochastic approach to evaluating livestock marketing policy initiatives," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 6(2), September.
    3. Verpoorten, Marijke, 2009. "Household coping in war- and peacetime: Cattle sales in Rwanda, 1991-2001," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 67-86, January.
    4. Travis J. Lybbert & Christopher B. Barrett & Solomon Desta & D. Layne Coppock, 2004. "Stochastic wealth dynamics and risk management among a poor population," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(498), pages 750-777, October.
    5. Kabubo-Mariara, Jane, 2009. "Global warming and livestock husbandry in Kenya: Impacts and adaptations," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1915-1924, May.
    6. Christopher B. Barrett & Francis Chabari & DeeVon Bailey & Peter D. Little & D. Layne Coppock, 2003. "Livestock Pricing in the Northern Kenyan Rangelands," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(2), pages 127-155, June.
    7. Mburu, Samuel & Kaiser, Micha & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2017. "Livestock asset dynamics among pastoralists in Northern Kenya," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 25-2017, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    8. McCarthy, Nancy & Dutilly-Diane, CĂ©line & Drabo, Boureima, 2002. "Cooperation, collective action and natural resources management in Burkina Faso: a methodological note," CAPRi working papers 27, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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