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The Complex Links between Governance and Biodiversity

Conservation Biology, Forthcoming

24 Pages Posted: 6 May 2005 Last revised: 23 May 2011

Christopher B. Barrett

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

Clark Gibson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

B. Hoffman

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

Mathew D. McCubbins

Department of Political Science and Law School, Duke University

Date Written: March 1, 2005

Abstract

We argue that two problems weaken the claims of those who link corruption and the exploitation of natural resources. The first is conceptual. Studies that use national level indicators of corruption fail to note that corruption comes in many forms, at multiple levels, and may or may not affect resource use. Without a clear causal model of the mechanism by which corruption affects resources, one should treat with caution any estimated relationship between corruption and the state of natural resources. The second problem is methodological: Simple models linking corruption measures and natural resource use typically do not account for other important causes and control variables pivotal to the relationship between humans and natural resources. By way of illustration of these two general concerns, we demonstrate that the findings of a well known recent study that posits a link between corruption and decreases in forests, elephants, and rhinoceros are fragile to simple conceptual and methodological refinements.

Keywords: Conservation policy, governance, corruption, elephants, forests, politics, environmental policy, biodiversity

Suggested Citation

Barrett, Christopher B. and Gibson, Clark and Hoffman, B. and McCubbins, Mathew D., The Complex Links between Governance and Biodiversity (March 1, 2005). Conservation Biology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=715083 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.715083

Christopher B. Barrett (Contact Author)

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/

Clark C. Gibson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

B. Hoffman

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

Mathew D. McCubbins

Department of Political Science and Law School, Duke University ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

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