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The Complexities of Decentralization in a Globalizing World

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Abstract

In many developing countries, decentralization programmes for natural resource management aim to induce incentives for sustainable resource management at the local level. The effectiveness of such programmes has, however, suffered from weak property rights to the resource and by the presence of externalities. Growing economic integration among countries has exacerbated these problems by increasing the exposure of local user groups to commercial actors interested in resource extraction. In this paper, the interplay of decentralization and globalization in affecting environmental outcomes and community welfare is analysed through a game-theoretic model of community-firm interactions. The results highlight the complexities of policy design. First, by raising the extractive value of the resource, globalization may lead to communities negotiating resource extraction agreements with firms. Second, with a lack of effective state enforcement of community resource rights, communities may be unable to assume de facto ownership over the resource, while commercial actors succeed in exploiting resources without community consent. No single policy option provides a panacea to counteracting these negative effects. Instead, a mix of policies, combining incentive payments along with the provision of more secure property rights and poverty alleviation is shown to have the potential to improve both environmental outcomes and community welfare.

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  • Stefanie Engel & Charles Palmer, 2009. "The Complexities of Decentralization in a Globalizing World," IED Working paper 09-08, IED Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ied:wpsied:09-08
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    File URL: http://www.ied.ethz.ch/pub/pdf/IED_WP08_Engel_Palmer.pdf
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    1. Frank Wätzold & Martin Drechsler, 2005. "Spatially Uniform versus Spatially Heterogeneous Compensation Payments for Biodiversity-Enhancing Land-Use Measures," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, pages 73-93.
    2. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
    3. Zabel, Astrid & Holm-Muller, Karin, 2007. "Performance payments for carnivore conservation in Sweden," Discussion Papers 57031, University of Bonn, Institute for Food and Resource Economics.
    4. Wunder, Sven & Engel, Stefanie & Pagiola, Stefano, 2008. "Taking stock: A comparative analysis of payments for environmental services programs in developed and developing countries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 834-852, May.
    5. Pagiola, Stefano & Ramirez, Elias & Gobbi, Jose & de Haan, Cees & Ibrahim, Muhammad & Murgueitio, Enrique & Ruiz, Juan Pablo, 2007. "Paying for the environmental services of silvopastoral practices in Nicaragua," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 374-385, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rohling, Moritz & Ohndorf, Markus, 2012. "Prices vs. Quantities with fiscal cushioning," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 169-187.
    2. Markus Ohndorf, 2010. "Optimal Monitoring for project-based Emissions Trading Systems under incomplete Enforcement," IED Working paper 10-13, IED Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich.
    3. Salvatore Di Falco & Marcella Veronesi, 2014. "Managing Environmental Risk in Presence of Climate Change: The Role of Adaptation in the Nile Basin of Ethiopia," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, pages 553-577.
    4. Julia Blasch & Mehdi Farsi, 2012. "Retail demand for voluntary carbon offsets - A choice experiment among Swiss consumers," IED Working paper 12-18, IED Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich.
    5. Ines Kapphan & Pierluigi Calanca & Annelie Holzkaemper, 2011. "Climate Change, Weather Insurance Design and Hedging Effectiveness," IED Working paper 11-17, IED Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich.
    6. Salvatore Di Falco & Marcella Veronesi, 2014. "Managing Environmental Risk in Presence of Climate Change: The Role of Adaptation in the Nile Basin of Ethiopia," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 57(4), pages 553-577, April.
    7. Rohling, Moritz & Ohndorf, Markus, 2012. "Prices vs. Quantities with fiscal cushioning," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, pages 169-187.
    8. Justin Caron & Markus Ohndorf, 2010. "Irreversibility and Optimal Timing of Climate Policy," IED Working paper 10-14, IED Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich.
    9. Blasch, Julia & Farsi, Mehdi, 2012. "Retail demand for voluntary carbon offsets – a choice experiment among Swiss consumers," MPRA Paper 41259, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    Keywords

    Bargaining; decentralization; globalization; natural resources; poverty; property rights; self-enforcement;

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