Halting degradation of natural resources

Table of contents

Is there a Role for Rural Communities?


Foreword by Mancur Olson

Published by the
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Kale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy

(c) 1996 by FAO



Part I Rationale and scope of local-level resource management: lessons from economic theory

1. Natural resources and economic growth: towards a definition of sustainability

1.1 Production and exhaustibility
1.2 Justifying a conservationist strategy
1.3 Sustainability and reproducibility
1.4 Sustainability and individual rationality
1.5 Conclusion

2. The tragedy of the commons

2.1 A preliminary statement of the problem
2.2 The problem of open access
2.3 The problem of common property
2.4 Co-ordination failure under common property
2.5 The conjectural variations approach
2.6 The lindahl equilibrium

3. The property rights school solution: the privatization programme

3.1 The position of the property rights school
3.2 The efficiency of the privatization programme
3.3 The distributive impact of privatization

4. The unregulated common property: The prisoner's dilemma revisited

4.1 The role of private contracting: Lessons from the coase theorem
4.2 The role of decentralized punishment: Spontaneous co-operation in repeated PD games

5. Co-ordination and leadership in the unregulated common property: some lessons from game theory

5.1 Unilateral contribution
5.2 Co-ordinated contributions
5.3 Heterogeneous situations with PD, AG, and CG players
5.4 Conclusion

6. Moral norms and co-operation

6.1 Norms as constraints on the pursuit of self-interest
6.2 Norms as social devices shaping preferences and expectations*
6.3 Considerations about the emergence and erosion of moral norms

7. The possibility of co-operation: lessons from experimental social psychology

7.1 Co-operation in repeated games
7.2 Co-operation in games with communication
7.3 Co-operation in one-shot games

8. The Regulated Common Property

8.1 The efficiency of regulated common property
8.2 The distributive effects of regulating common property
8.3 Common property resources in the context of pervasive factor-market imperfections
8.4 Conclusion

9. Some concluding reflections on the privatization of common property resources

Part II The feasibility of local-level resource management: an empirical assessment

10. Were people traditionally conservationists?

10.1 The romantic view: A first appraisal
10.2 An interpretative analysis of the available evidence
10.3 Conclusion

11. Recent changes affecting collective action at village level

11.1 State regulations of resource use: their nature and drawbacks
11.2 Other recent changes on the rural scene
11.3 Conclusion: A tentative appraisal of on-going processes

12. Conditions for successful collective action: Insights from field experiences

12.1 A general overview
12.2 The problem of economic incentives
12.3 The twin issues of group size and homogeneity
12.4 The rationale and characteristics of sanction systems
12.5 The role of tradition
12.6 Conclusion

13. Co-management as a new approach to regulation of common property resources

13.1 Enlarging the range of regulation modes
13.2 The broad nature of co-management arrangements or contracts
13.3 Co-management at work
13.4 Conclusion

General Conclusion