Community Based Rangeland Management in Namibia: Main treatment effects and results from a public goods game


Speaker:Dean Karlan, Northwestern University
Date: Friday 6 November 2020
Time: 14.00
Location: Online via Zoom

Further details

Classic social science theories suggest that common pool resources are subject to overexploitation, reducing aggregate social returns. Community-based resource management approaches may ameliorate ‘tragedy of the commons’ effects, yet such procedures themselves may be undermined by collective action problems. Using a randomized evaluation in 38 Namibian communal rangelands, we assessed the impact of a comprehensive four-year program to support community-based rangeland and cattle management. We found the program led to persistent improvements for eight of thirteen indices of social and behavioral outcomes, but effects on ten rangeland outcomes were either negative or nil. There were also no effects on cattle productivity or household economic outcomes. Positive impacts on community resource management were undermined by communities’ inability to control grazing pressure and inertia in the rangeland sub-system. With the same population we also analyze public goods games – including punishment options and expectations of others’ behavior – played against their own community; external community; and the local traditional authority.