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Poverty And The Management Of Natural Resources:A Model Of Shifting Cultivation

  • Ed Balsdon

    ()

    (Department of Economics, San Diego State University)

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    It is frequently asserted in the environment/development literature that severe poverty causes the neglect of worthwhile investments, resulting in deforestation and other resource degradation. While microeconomic theory does suggest a relationship between poverty and the evaluation of investments, the environmental impact is not so simple. This paper develops a dynamic theory of “shifting cultivation,” with special attention to an environmental impact variable: the length of time a given field is cultivated before a shift to the next. The model indicates that poverty reduction will lead in some ways to accelerated extraction of a natural resource, but also to a longer extraction period. The results therefore provide support for claims of an indirect environmental benefit from the primary goal of alleviating rural poverty. The impact of discount rates, prices, and other parameters are also explored.

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    File URL: http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/dept/econ/WPSeries/07_05.pdf
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    Paper provided by San Diego State University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0021.

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    Length: 25 pages
    Date of creation: May 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:sds:wpaper:0021
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    Web page: http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/dept/econ/e1.html

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    1. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-58, August.
    2. Lopez Ramon, 1994. "The Environment as a Factor of Production: The Effects of Economic Growth and Trade Liberalization," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 163-184, September.
    3. Lopez, Ramon, 1997. "Environmental externalities in traditional agriculture and the impact of trade liberalization: the case of Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 17-39, June.
    4. Cropper, Maureen & Griffiths, Charles, 1994. "The Interaction of Population Growth and Environmental Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 250-54, May.
    5. Pender, John L., 1996. "Discount rates and credit markets: Theory and evidence from rural india," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 257-296, August.
    6. Mendelsohn, Robert, 1994. "Property Rights and Tropical Deforestation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 750-56, Supplemen.
    7. Tracy R. Lewis & Richard Schmalensee, 1979. "Non-convexity and Optimal Harvesting Strategies for Renewable Resources," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 12(4), pages 677-91, November.
    8. Grepperud, S., 1997. "Soil conservation as an investment in land," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 455-467, December.
    9. Barrett, Scott, 1991. "Optimal soil conservation and the reform of agricultural pricing policies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 167-187, October.
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