Do Stronger Collective Property Rights Improve Household Livelihoods? Evidence from a Field Study in Fiji
27 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2009 Last revised: 28 Apr 2014
Date Written: December 1, 2009
Recently attention has focused on collective ownership as a potentially better institution for governing common pool resources in some circumstances than either private or State ownership. Previous case studies have examined the structure and functioning of successful and long-enduring collective governance institutions, but to date little quantitative research has addressed the household level impact on livelihoods of collective ownership. The long term viability of collective ownership depends on whether community members benefit from collective governance institutions, so the impact on household livelihoods is a critical question. Exploiting a natural experiment - in which some villages were exogenously included in a provincial level initiative to strengthen collective ownership rights over fisheries, while villages in a neighboring province were excluded - I examine the impact of collective fisheries ownership on household livelihoods, specifically income and food consumption. I find that strengthening collective ownership rights improves household access to and consumption of marine resources, but does not increase household income. Income improvements that on first glance appear due to stronger collective ownership rights are instead generated by marine education and NGO engagement.
Keywords: Fiji, Collective Ownership, Livlihoods, Marine Education
JEL Classification: H1, H4, I3, K11, K32, N5, O1, O10, Q2, Q15
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