Path Dependence, Multiple Equilibria, and Adaptive Efficiency in Forest Regimes in India

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1999

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Abstract

"The evolution of forest regimes in India has almost completed a full cycle from the community regime in the pre-British period through state regimes during the British colonial period and the first post-independence phase and finally back to community based regimes in the 1990s. During the British period that evolution may be characterized as discontinuous, in the standard (temporal) sense, but path-dependent in a geographical sense. Change resulted from the imposition of a new organizational structure with enough energy to dismantle the existing structure; its geographical path-dependency reflected the inertia of the British organizational structure developed in other countries. Regimes changes in the post-British period have been path-dependent (in the temporal sense) due to self-reinforcing mechanisms,among which organizational inertia has been the dominant one. fa the post 1987 phase,external factors(outside the government and the forest department), such as non-governmental organizations and peoples initiatives at the local level have moved the process closer to one of adaptive efficiency. However, multiple forest regimes have been present at all times. An argument is made for development of a theory of evolution of resource regimes that incorporates interactions between formal institutions and the informal institutions of user groups of the state's forestry administration."

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institutions, forest management, regimes, institutional analysis, path dependence

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