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Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Property rights, Collective action, and Agriculture

InstitutionsOrganization of collective action and systems of property rights shape how people use natural resources, and these patterns of use in turn affect the outcomes of peoples agricultural production systems. For example, tenants are often not allowed to plant trees or lack incentives to do terracing. Moving from on-farm technologies to those that operate at larger spatial sales implies a greater need for collective action to make the technology work. Property rights and collective action also affect natural resource management. Collective action and networks among community members can facilitate access to information and even allow farmers to participate in technology development. Ownership of assets can serve as collateral for obtaining credit. Rights over common property resources frequently act as a crutch against risk. Collective action enables risk sharing and inspires mechanisms for collective self help. Property rights and collective action are also interdependent. Take for instance property regimes, where holding rights in common reinforces collective action among members, eventually the collective action is needed to manage the resource.

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