Collective Action and Property Rights for Poverty Reduction

Collective Action and Property Rights for Poverty Reduction: Insights from Africa and Asia

ESTHER MWANGI
HELEN MARKELOVA
RUTH MEINZEN-DICK
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 448
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt3fj5qw
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  • Book Info
    Collective Action and Property Rights for Poverty Reduction
    Book Description:

    To improve their well-being, the poor in developing countries have used both collective action through formal and informal groups and property rights to natural resources.Collective Action and Property Rights for Poverty Reduction: Insights from Africa and Asiaexamines how these two types of institutions, separately and together, influence quality of life and how they can be strengthened to improve the livelihoods of the rural poor.

    The product of a global research study by the Systemwide Program on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, this book draws on case studies from East Africa and South and Southeast Asia to investigate how collective action and property rights have contributed to poverty reduction. The book extends the analysis of these institutions beyond their frequently studied role in natural resource management by also examining how they can reduce vulnerability to different types of shocks.

    Essays in the volume identify opportunities and risks present in the institutions of collective action and property rights. For example, property rights to natural resources can offer a variety of advantages, providing individuals and groups not only with benefits and incomes but also with assets that can counter the negative effects of shocks such as drought, and can make collective action easier. The authors also demonstrate that collective action has the potential to reduce poverty if it includes more vulnerable groups such as women, ethnic minorities, and the very poor. Preventing exclusion of these often-marginalized groups and guaranteeing genuinely inclusive collective action might require special rules and policies. Another danger to the poor is the capture of property rights by elites, which can be the result of privatization and decentralization policies; case studies and analysis identify actions to prevent such elite capture.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0787-3
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. List of Boxes
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Foreword
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    Shenggen Fan

    During the past three decades, major advances have been made in understanding the structure and function of community organizations and the origins and evolution of property rights and access to natural resources. Both local organizing and property rights and access to natural resources have been demonstrated to have profound implications for whether resources such as forests, fisheries, water, and pastures will be sustainably used and managed. Public policy has advanced along with this growing understanding. Similar progress has been made in poverty studies, and we now have a better understanding of the origins, dynamics, and multidimensional aspects of poverty. Policy...

  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Acronyms and Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  9. PART I Introduction and Conceptual Framework
    • 1 Introduction and Overview
      (pp. 3-24)
      ESTHER MWANGI, HELEN MARKELOVA and RUTH MEINZEN-DICK

      Poverty reduction has been at the forefront of global discussions for several decades but has recently gained fresh momentum, with various parties urgently pushing for policies and programs that would enhance the well-being of the world’s 1 billion poor.¹ The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in the 1990s provide a normative framework and specific targets for poverty reduction efforts. On the other hand, Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (comprehensive country-based strategies for poverty prevention), which are based on consultative processes with a wide range of stakeholders, provide an instrumental road map for achieving the MDG targets. Embedded in these...

    • 2 Property Rights and Collective Action for Poverty Reduction: A Framework for Analysis
      (pp. 25-48)
      MONICA DI GREGORIO, KONRAD HAGEDORN, MICHAEL KIRK, BENEDIKT KORF, NANCY MCCARTHY, RUTH MEINZEN-DICK, BRENT SWALLOW, ESTHER MWANGI and HELEN MARKELOVA

      This chapter presents a conceptual framework for examining how formal and informal institutions of property rights and collective action can contribute to poverty reduction, including through external interventions and action by poor people themselves. The past two decades have witnessed an increased understanding of the role of institutions in natural resource management (Ostrom 1990; Baland and Platteau 1996). The insights on the role of formal and informal property rights and collective action institutions in improving well-being can assist both research and policies for poverty reduction. They shed light on issues of governance, power relations, and ideological factors that keep people...

  10. PART II Risk Management and Market Access
    • [PART II Introduction]
      (pp. 49-50)

      This part of the book features three case studies: two on the way that poor households use local institutions to cope with shocks (Ethiopia–iddirand the Philippines) and one on smallholder market institutions (Kenya). All three studies focus on collective action and its role in enabling smallholders to deal with certain constraints that they face in accessing insurance schemes and markets. These case studies are important because they spotlight the institutions of collective action in areas of poverty-related research other than natural resource management (NRM) in poverty areas and provide additional insights on various determinants of the effectiveness and...

    • 3 Burial Societies in Rural Ethiopia
      (pp. 51-78)
      STEFAN DERCON, JOHN HODDINOTT, PRAMILA KRISHNAN and TASSEW WOLDEHANNA

      Collective action has both intrinsic and instrumental value. Being part of a group and participating toward meeting a common objective provides direct benefits to individuals. In the Ethiopian survey data used in this study, individuals who reported having larger networks also reported higher levels of happiness. Such correlations are not unique to Ethiopia. Using data from the World Values Survey, Helliwell and Putnam (2004) found that individuals who reported higher levels of individual and collective civic engagement also reported higher scores on measures of subjective well-being. Collective action is also a means to an end. For example, the joint management...

    • 4 Shocks, Groups, and Networks in Bukidnon, the Philippines
      (pp. 79-109)
      AGNES R. QUISUMBING, SCOTT MCNIVEN and MARIE GODQUIN

      Because poverty and well-being are determined not only by households’ assets and income but also by their vulnerability to shocks over time (Di Gregorio et al., this volume, Chapter 2), it is important to understand the nature and characteristics of risks and shocks, the extent to which a household engages in ex ante risk management, and the extent to which it can engage in ex post risk coping. Collective action, such as membership in formal groups and social networks, can help reduce vulnerability if such groups and networks also function as insurance networks.

      This chapter examines the role of groups...

    • 5 Rural Institutions and Imperfect Agricultural Markets in Africa: Experiences from Producer Marketing Groups in Kenya
      (pp. 110-148)
      BEKELE SHIFERAW, GEOFFREY MURICHO, MENALE KASSIE and GIDEON OBARE

      Many Sub-Saharan African countries have liberalized their economies and developed poverty reduction strategies aimed at opening up new market-led opportunities for economic recovery and accelerated growth. The outcomes of these policy reforms have, however, been quite mixed (Winter-Nelson and Temu 2002; Dorward and Kydd 2004; Fafchamps 2004). Many smallholder farmers continue to engage in subsistence agriculture and are therefore unable to benefit from liberalized markets. Structural problems of poor infrastructure (Kydd and Dorward 2004; Dorward et al. 2005) and lack of market-enabling institutions (World Bank 2002, 2003) continue to characterize the subsector, contributing to high transaction costs, coordination failure, and...

  11. PART III Natural Resource Management
    • [PART III Introduction]
      (pp. 149-152)

      This part of the book features six case studies of collective action and property rights in natural resource management (NRM). We begin with a study of watershed management in India, which is followed by two case studies on facilitating collective action, one for a range of NRM topics in the African highlands (Ethiopia and Uganda) and the other for securing property rights for forest communities in Indonesia. The next two case studies both deal with pastoralism in Ethiopia (Afar and Somali), but the issues that emerge as most salient differ: state sedentarization policies in Afar and enclosure of the commons...

    • 6 Community Watershed Management in Semiarid India: The State of Collective Action and Its Effects on Natural Resources and Rural Livelihoods
      (pp. 153-188)
      BEKELE SHIFERAW, TEWODROS A. KEBEDE and V. RATNA REDDY

      Watershed management is a landscape-based strategy that aims to implement improved natural resource management systems for improving livelihoods and promoting beneficial conservation, sustainable use, and management of natural resources. Integrated watershed management (IWM) has been promoted in many countries as a suitable strategy for improving productivity and the sustainable intensification of agriculture. The Government of India, in particular, accords high priority to watershed programs as a strategy for the integrated development of rural communities, especially in rainfed and drought-prone areas. It goes beyond conservation technologies and emphasizes the importance of the human dimension and the need to integrate technological tools...

    • 7 Enabling Equitable Collective Action and Policy Change for Poverty Reduction and Improved Natural Resource Management in the Eastern African Highlands
      (pp. 189-234)
      LAURA GERMAN, WAGA MAZENGIA, WILBERFORCE TIRWOMWE, SHENKUT AYELE, JOSEPH TANUI, SIMON NYANGAS, LEULSEGED BEGASHAW, HAILEMICHAEL TAYE, ZENEBE A. TEFERI, MESFIN T. GEBREMIKAEL, SARAH CHARAMILA, FRANCIS ALINYO, ASHENAFI MEKONNEN, KASSAHUN ABERRA, AWADH CHEMANGENI, WILLIAM CHEPTEGEI, TESSEMA TOLERA, ZEWDIE JOTTE and KIFLU BEDANE

      Spontaneously organized institutions of collective action and the institutional effects of exogenous development interventions are both known to have a profound effect on development outcomes.¹ Despite an in-depth academic understanding of the institutional foundations of development and natural resource management (NRM), development interventions continue to have a strong technological bias. Development and conservation interventions continue to be carried out with an uncritical view to equity and the possible negative repercussions of interventions on certain social groups and environmental sustainability, while local institutions (rules and structures) remain largely invisible to outside actors.² Yet the shortcomings lie not only with practitioners but...

    • 8 The Role of Collective Action in Securing Property Rights for the Poor: A Case Study in Jambi Province, Indonesia
      (pp. 235-269)
      HERU KOMARUDIN, YULIANA L. SIAGIAN, CAROL J. PIERCE COLFER, NELDYSAVRINO, YENTIRIZAL, SYAMSUDDIN and DEDDY IRAWAN

      Like many countries around the world (Colfer and Capistrano 2005), Indonesia has initiated a process of decentralization, particularly since the fall of Suharto in 1998. This process has included devolving extensive authority for day-to-day governance to the districts (kabupaten). In the forestry sector, district heads immediately began making use of forest resources as the main source of district income. Concerns over increased uncertainty and adverse impacts on the sustainability of resources, community livelihoods, and stakeholder relations led the central government to reduce the district heads’ authority in 2002 (Barr et al. 2006; Dermawan, Komarudin, and McGrath 2006; Yasmi et al....

    • 9 The Transformation of the Afar Commons in Ethiopia: State Coercion, Diversification, and Property Rights Change among Pastoralists
      (pp. 270-303)
      BEKELE HUNDIE and MARTINA PADMANABHAN

      Change in natural environmental conditions has constantly influenced pastoral livelihoods in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, though the uncertainty of ecological conditions and insecurity of property rights have increased only relatively recently (Scoones 1995; McCarthy et al. 1999). As a result of these changes, the reliable flow of life-sustaining goods and services previously wrought from the area’s erratic rangeland ecosystems is diminishing, putting pastoral livelihoods at great risk (Gadamu 1994). The adaptation of these pastoralists is not confined to a simple human–land relationship in an isolated setting but is rather influenced by demographic change, agricultural expansion, attempts to incorporate...

    • 10 Unmaking the Commons: Collective Action, Property Rights, and Resource Appropriation among (Agro-) Pastoralists in Eastern Ethiopia
      (pp. 304-327)
      FEKADU BEYENE and BENEDIKT KORF

      In Ethiopian development policies, pastoralist areas have recently attracted more attention. Funding for (agro-) pastoralist development has increased significantly in the past decade. However, much debate and policy advice are still based on stereotypical representations of pastoralist areas as backward, prone to starvation and food insecurity, and hotbeds of violent conflict and contraband trade. Policy has also been based on modernist thinking among the ruling elite, which considers pastoralism an outdated mode of life that needs to be directed toward the path of modernity (that is, sedentary farming, urban life), and on technical interventions that focus on (partial) sedentarization of...

    • 11 Escaping Poverty Traps? Collective Action and Property Rights in Postwar Rural Cambodia
      (pp. 328-356)
      ANNE WEINGART and MICHAEL KIRK

      Collective action and property rights are able to shape people’s livelihoods. The conceptual framework presented in Chapter 2 shows that property rights shape people’s claims to benefit streams out of their owned resources and have an impact on their asset base. When property rights are suited to address people’s needs, they have a better chance to shape their livelihoods and to escape poverty traps. Secure access to resources increases a household’s capital base and broadens (poor) people’s capacities to engage in activities to improve their wellbeing. Effective collective action increases or secures people’s access to resources and can also enable...

  12. PART IV Synthesis and Conclusions
    • 12 Collective Action and Property Rights for Poverty Reduction: A Synthesis
      (pp. 359-392)
      ESTHER MWANGI, HELEN MARKELOVA and RUTH MEINZEN-DICK

      The major theoretical enterprise of this book is to understand how the institutions of collective action and property rights influence rural poverty and livelihoods. Their links to sustainable natural resource management (NRM) are relatively well established, but this does not necessarily translate into poverty reduction. To address this question, we also need to look at the inclusiveness of these institutions; how they are influenced by (lack of) assets, risks, and governance structures that favor or disfavor poor people; and how these institutions shape the resources and strategies that poor and nonpoor actors use to further objectives of meeting basic needs...

    • 13 Conclusions and Implications for Policy, Practice, and Research
      (pp. 393-412)
      ESTHER MWANGI, HELEN MARKELOVA and RUTH MEINZEN-DICK

      This book began by proposing that institutions of collective action and property rights can play a valuable role in facilitating poverty reduction. As discussed in Chapter 1, there is a disconnect between the natural resource management (NRM) and non-NRM poverty research: each has its own strengths, but to date, there have not been many attempts to cross-fertilize the two with lessons learned from each for poverty reduction. This volume bridges this gap by connecting institutional research, which is strong in the NRM literature, with the poverty analysis better covered by other poverty studies to apply the knowledge on institutions to...

  13. Contributors
    (pp. 413-418)
  14. Index
    (pp. 419-426)