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Property Rights, Collective Action and Poverty: The Role of Institutions for Poverty Reduction

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Di Gregorio, Monica; Hagedorn, Konrad; Kirk, Michael; Korf, Benedikt; McCarthy, Nancy; Meinzen-Dick, Ruth; Swallow, Brent M.
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities, the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Conf. Date: August 9-13
Date: 2004
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1270
Sector: Theory
Land Tenure & Use
Subject(s): IASC
property rights
collective action
poverty alleviation--models
institutional analysis--IAD framework
Abstract: From Introduction: "...This paper presents a conceptual framework for examining how property rights and collective action can contribute to poverty reduction, including both external interventions and action by poor people themselves. We begin with definitions of the key concepts--poverty, property rights, and collective action. We then turn to an examination of how property rights and collective action are related to poverty outcomes, building upon the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework. This interdisciplinary framework allows analysis of a wide range of interactions, and is useful for eliciting relevant questions for examination in any particular case. At the heart of this framework is the action arena, which is shaped by initial conditions and, in turn, determines a range of outcomes. Applying this framework to poverty reduction, we present an analysis of the initial conditions of poverty, including the asset base, risks and vulnerability, legal structure and power relations. We next look at the dynamics of actors both poor and non-poor and how they use the tangible and intangible resources they have to shape their livelihoods and the institutions in which they live. We conclude with a discussion of how this framework can improve our understanding of the outcomes in terms of changes in poverty status. "Discussing such complex and dynamic processes in one paper requires generalization, yet we know that both the material and institutional conditions of the poor vary from place to place, and change over time. Recognizing the importance of local circumstances, we have phrased many of the key points as propositions, to be considered for different situations, but not necessarily applying to all. We hope that this will provide a basis for further thinking and discussion; and in particular, for further empirical analysis, which can advance our understanding of the role collective action and property rights can play in poverty reduction."

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