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2018-02-23 | project

Triggers and Outcomes to Collective Action in Common-Pool Resources Management: A Devolution Case of Collective Forests in China

This project studies determinants and consequences of collective action in forest management in China. The research focus is how cooperation could be triggered in the devolution process of titling forest management to households.

For each village, whether adopting the devolution reform is a collective decision based on majority votes by all member households. Cooperation refers here to the decisions made by households to jointly manage their forests on a voluntary basis – tenure types named as “village collective or cluster” and the “partnership” as a result of the reform.

A two-period panel data from 3,000 randomly surveyed households in 256 villages allow us to control for pre-existing differences across villages and households. We aim to answer two main questions:

  • First, for households being given private tenure, under what conditions would they voluntarily coordinate to manage their forestland forest plots jointly?
  • Second, we assess household welfare effect of collective actions.

The project has the objective to identify determining factors on why decentralized households with forest management would voluntarily coordinate in collective action, such as the role of clearly defined, securely protected property rights and reduced transaction costs for individual coordination. The findings will be crucial for policy makers to design follow-up administrative tools to facilitate such cooperation.