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Community, Collective Action and Common Grazing: The Case of Post-Socialist Mongolia

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Mearns, Robin
Journal: Journal of Development Studies
Volume: 32
Date: 1996
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3308
Sector: Grazing
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): grazing
collective action
transaction costs
Abstract: "This article applies collective-action and transaction-cost theory to the theoretical debate around the management of common property regimes (CPRs), with supporting evidence from recent empirical research in Mongolian pastoralism. Rather than treating CPR management as an activity in isolation, as much of the existing literature tends to do, this study examines the use of common grazing in the context of other aspects of pastoral livelihoods. The more a given group of herders find reason to cooperate with each other across a range of activities, it is argued, the more likely it is that they will also overcome the transaction costs involved in controlling the use of the commons. The empirical analysis finds that incentives for cooperation were weakened under agricultural collectivisation (1950s-80s), with possible adverse consequences for the commons. Decollectivisation from the early 1990s has seen the re-emergence of autonomous cooperation among herders, accompanied by changes in intra-community dynamics, which together suggest contradictory trends for the future management of common grazing."

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