Land Tenure and Conflict Resolution: A Game Theoretic Approach in the Narok District in Kenya

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"Many conflicts in numerous parts of the developing world can be traced to disputes over land ownership, land use and land degradation. In this paper we test the hypothesis that differences in knowledge structures on land tenure and market systems between different leaders within these countries has caused marginalisation of some leaders by the others. A sustained process of marginalisation driven by this inequality has caused the disadvantaged to revolt, resulting, in many cases, in violent clashes. In this paper we develop a game theoretic model to test our hypothesis by analysing the complex interdependencies existing among the various leaders in the Narok district in Kenya. Violent clashes have been increasing in the district since the first outbreak in 1993. Preliminary results seem to confirm our suspicion that differences in knowledge structures among the various leaders in over land and agricultural markets might have been the catalysts of these conflicts. In order to reduce these discrepancies, we recommend two institutional reforms. The first involves the adoption of a hybrid land tenure system whereby land ownership is based on individual titles, while the use and sale of the land is governed by communal rules established by a community participatory process. The second recommendation involves the formation of an information network comprising all leaders, with the main objective to provide a forum for exchange of ideas and information pertaining to land use options and the opportunities offered by the market system."
land tenure and use, conflict, game theory, agriculture