Thanks But No Thanks: A New Policy to Reduce Land Conflict
27 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2014
Date Written: June 25, 2014
Land conflicts in developing countries are costly. An important policy goal is to create respect for borders. This often involves mandatory, expensive interventions. We propose a new policy design, which in theory promotes neighborly relations at low cost. A salient feature is the option to by-pass regulation through consensus. The key idea combines the insight that social preferences transform social dilemmas into coordination problems with the logic of forward induction. As a first, low-cost pass at empirical evaluation, we conduct an experiment among farmers in the Ethiopian highlands, a region exhibiting features typical of countries where borders are often disputed. Our results suggest that a low-cost land delimitation based on neighborly recognition of borders could deliver a desired low-conflict situation if accompanied by an optional higher cost demarcation process.
Keywords: conflict, land-conflict game, social preferences, forward induction, Ethiopia, experiment, land reform
JEL Classification: C78, C93, D63, Q15
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