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Comparing the Effectiveness of Informal and Formal Institutions in Sustainable Common Pool Resources Management in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Yami, Mastewal; Vogl, Christian; Hauser, Michael
Journal: Conservation and Society
Volume: 7
Page(s): 153-164
Date: 2009
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/6063
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Region: Africa
Subject(s): common pool resources
Abstract: "This article compares the effectiveness of informal and formal institutions for sustainable common pool resources(CPRs) management in Sub-Saharan Africa and investigates the social, political and demographic conditions that influence the institutions’ effectiveness. By focusing on publications addressing micro-level CPR management, a comprehensive literature review was conducted. Articles were grouped, based on the main themes of the study, including types of institutions and conditions that influence their effectiveness. A qualitative meta-analysis was conducted using a deductive coding approach. The results revealed that informal institutions have contributed to sustainable CPR management by creating a suitable environment for joint decision-making, enabling exclusion at low cost for CPR users and using locally agreed sanctions. Although the published evidence suggested less support to formal institutions under decentralised governmental reforms, they played an important role in implementing technologies for sustainable CPR management. Conditions that influence the effectiveness of both types of institutions include high population growth on limited CPRs, the growing scarcity of CPRs due to land use change and the lack of human and financial capacities. Improving the conditions that hinder the contributions of both types of institutions is crucial to enhance the institutions’ effectiveness in sustainable CPR management. Moreover, policies and development interventions should strengthen the involvement of well-functioning informal institutions in decision-making so that sustainable CPR management can be achieved."

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