The Diffusion of Cattle Ranching and Deforestation: Prospects for a Hollow Frontier in Mexico’s Yucatán
his article investigates the behavioral drivers of pasture creation and associated implications for deforestation in a 22,000 km2 agricultural frontier spanning the base of Mexico’s southern Yucatán. After developing a theoretical model that highlights the role of social networks and information spillovers with respect to the decision to begin cattle ranching, we use household data to estimate an econometric duration model of the determinants of pasture creation. Although pasture fits well with the typical household’s resource constraints, its continued expansion contributes to a hollow frontier dynamic in which the spread of low-value cattle ranching coincides with decreasing population.
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