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Decentralized governance and environmental change: Local institutional moderation of deforestation in Bolivia

  • Krister Andersson

    (University of Colorado, Boulder)

  • Clark C. Gibson

    (University of California, San Diego)

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    Dozens of countries have decentralized at least part of their natural resource policies over the last two decades. Despite the length of time that these policy experiments have been in force, there is little agreement about their effectiveness. We argue that part of this ambivalence stems from three limitations of extant studies, suggesting that future studies of decentralized natural resource governance should consider a combination of 1) variation in the local institutional context, 2) the fit between the reform and other public policies, and 3) more adequate outcome measures for decentralized resource governance. After developing such an approach, we posit that varying forest conditions depend on the moderating effects that local institutions have on the socioeconomic and biophysical drivers of environmental change. Analyzing data from interviews and remotely sensed images from 30 municipalities in the Bolivian lowlands, we find that the local institutional performance affects unauthorized deforestation directly and indirectly, but detect no effects on either permitted or total deforestation. © 2006 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

    Volume (Year): 26 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 99-123

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:26:y:2007:i:1:p:99-123
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    1. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
    2. Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela, ed. & Knox, Anna, ed. & Place, Frank, ed. & Swallow, Brent, ed., 2002. "Innovation in natural resource management," Food policy statements 39, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Swallow, Brent, 2005. "Potential for Poverty Reduction Strategies to Address Community Priorities: Case Study of Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 301-321, February.
    4. Tanya Heikkila, 2004. "Institutional boundaries and common-pool resource management: A comparative analysis of water management programs in California," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(1), pages 97-117.
    5. Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
    6. Fiszbein, Ariel, 1997. "The Emergence of local capacity: Lessons from Colombia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(7), pages 1029-1043, July.
    7. Inman, Robert P. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1996. "Designing tax policy in federalist economies: An overview," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 307-334, June.
    8. Mark Lubell, 2004. "Collaborative environmental institutions: All talk and no action?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 549-573.
    9. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Decentralized targeting of an antipoverty program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 705-727, April.
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