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Institutional change and social conflicts over the forest use in the Northern Bolivian Amazon

Sergio Antonio Ruiz

ISBN 10: 3935638744 / ISBN 13: 9783935638746
Published by Verlag Kessel, 2005
Condition: Fine Soft cover
From Masalai Press (Oakland, CA, U.S.A.)

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240 p. Includes: diagrams, bibliography. 0.0. Bookseller Inventory # ABE.0004126

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Institutional change and social conflicts ...

Publisher: Verlag Kessel

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Fine

About this title


The Bolivian government approved one of the most ambitious political and legal reform programs in Latin America in the 1990s. Implementation of this reform could not have been possible without the emergence of social conflicts, mainly in peripheral regions such as the northern Bolivian Amazon that was historically governed by traditional arrangements favouring local elitist groups. This study contributes to a better understanding of the strategic behaviour of regional stakeholders seeking control of the forests. It concludes that elitist groups resorted to activating their political contacts in the upper echelons of public decision-making to change the legislation while rural groups resorted to presurising the Government through organisation of popular marches, hunger strikes and road blockades. Although the Bolivian reform took into account the broad interests of regional stakeholders in an effort to redistribute the land equally, land disputes could have been avoided if the new legislation had been more finely framed to take account of land tenure attributes such as size, exclusion, designation of rights, or would have incorporated clear penalties and sanctions for offenders. The lack of clarity in the reform led not only to legal insecurity over land tenure but also greatly contributed to promoting rent-seeking behaviour. However, contrary to the findings in several studies associating rent-seeking behavior and conflicts only with negative consequences in society, this study demonstrates that both phenomena shape the decentralisation process in poor countries. Rent-seeking and social conflicts contribute to an efficient resource allocation, particularly when public agents are not available to enforce the law.

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