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Between market failure, policy failure and “community failure”: property rights, crop-livestock conflicts and the adoption of sustainable land use practices in the dry zone of Sri Lanka


  • Birner, Regina
  • Gunaweera, Hasantha


Using the case of the semi-arid zone of Southern Sri Lanka as an example, the paper shows that crop damages caused by grazing livestock can constitute an important obstacle to the adoption of available technologies for more sustainable land use. The paper considers crop damages as an externality problem and shows that the classical solutions to externalities — the neo-liberal, the interventionist solution and the communitarian solution — cannot be applied in the Sri Lankan case due to market failure, government failure and “community failure.” The paper discusses collective action and bargaining between organized interest groups as an alternative solution and analyses the conditions which make such a solution work. The paper concludes that - in the Sri Lankan case - a decentralized system of government, a preferential voting system creating incentives for politicians, an institutionalized negotiation platform, and the facilitating role of intermediaries favored this solution.

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  • Birner, Regina & Gunaweera, Hasantha, 2001. "Between market failure, policy failure and “community failure”: property rights, crop-livestock conflicts and the adoption of sustainable land use practices in the dry zone of Sri Lanka," CAPRi working papers 13, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:worpps:13

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Moore, Mick, 1997. "Leading the left to the right: Populist coalitions and economic reform," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(7), pages 1009-1028, July.
    2. Hoffman, Elizabeth & Spitzer, Matthew L, 1982. "The Coase Theorem: Some Experimental Tests," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 73-98, April.
    3. Knox, Anna & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela & Hazell, P. B. R., 1998. "Property rights, collective action and technologies for natural resource management: a conceptual framework," CAPRi working papers 1, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    Cited by:

    1. Cardenas, Juan-Camilo & Ostrom, Elinor, 2004. "What do people bring into the game? Experiments in the field about cooperation in the commons," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 307-326, December.
    2. Johnson, Nancy & Suarez , Ruth & Lundy, Mark, 2002. "The importance of social capital in Colombian rural agro-enterprises:," CAPRi working papers 26, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Byström, Marie, 2004. "Formal and informal systems in support of farmer management of agro-biodiversity: some policy challenges to consolidate lessons learned," CAPRi working papers 31, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Place, Frank & Kariuki, Gatarwa & Wangila, Justine & Kristjanson, Patti & Makauki, Adolf & Ndubi, Jessica, 2002. "Assessing the factors underlying differences in group performance: methodological issues and empirical findings from the highlands of Central Kenya," CAPRi working papers 25, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Krishna, Anirudh, 2003. "Understanding, measuring and utilizing social capital: clarifying concepts and presenting a field application from India," CAPRi working papers 28, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. German, Laura & Mazengia, Waga & Tirwomwe, Wilberforce & Ayele, Shenkut & Tanui, Joseph & Nyangas, Simon & Begashaw, Leulseged & Taye, Hailemichael & Admassu, Zenebe & Tsegaye, Mesfin & Alinyo, Franci, 2008. "Enabling equitable collective action and policy change for poverty reduction and improved natural resource management in the Eastern African highlands:," CAPRi working papers 86, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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