Market-Based Conservation and Local Benefits: The Case Of Argan Oil in Morocco

Posted: 28 Oct 2002

See all articles by Travis J. Lybbert

Travis J. Lybbert

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Christopher B. Barrett

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management

Hamid Narjisse

IAV Hassan II

Abstract

Market-based approaches to biodiversity conservation gained popularity in the 1990s. The success of these strategies hinges on, first, the successful creation or expansion of target markets and, second, the beneficial involvement of local stakeholders in these markets so that improved incentives induce conservation. This paper evaluates these two key elements in the case of argan oil commercialization in southwestern Morocco. The principal finding is that even when locals appear well-positioned to reap ex post benefits, one can reject the hypothesis that successful resource commercialization necessarily stimulates local development and reduces poverty. Most locals participate only superficially in the new and expanded markets for argan oil, and the benefits that do trickle down to local households appear to be regressively distributed, both regionally and between households. The key lies in understanding how opening or expanding markets may induce endogenous product differentiation that easily excludes locals, especially the poor, and how ex ante market access - a variable commonly correlated with wealth - conditions households' capacity to participate in market-induced producer windfalls.

Keywords: Resource commercialization, Conservation, Economic development, Bioprospecting

Suggested Citation

Lybbert, Travis J. and Barrett, Christopher B. and Narjisse, Hamid, Market-Based Conservation and Local Benefits: The Case Of Argan Oil in Morocco. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=329640

Travis J. Lybbert (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

Christopher B. Barrett

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management ( email )

315 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7801
United States
607-255-4489 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://aem.cornell.edu/faculty_sites/cbb2/

Hamid Narjisse

IAV Hassan II ( email )

Rabat
Morocco

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