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CENTRALIZED AND DECENTRALIZED MANAGEMENT OF LOCAL COMMON POOL RESOURCES IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD: EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE FROM FISHING COMMUNITIES IN COLOMBIA

Authors

  • MARIA ALEJANDRA VELEZ,

    1. Velez: Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027. Phone 1-212-854-8384, Fax 1-212-854-3609, E-mail mav2122@columbia.edu
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  • JAMES J. MURPHY,

    1. Murphy: Rasmuson Chair of Economics, Department of Economics, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK 99508. Phone 1-907-786-1936, Fax 1-907-786-4115, E-mail jmurphy@cbpp.uaa.alaska.edu
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  • JOHN K. STRANLUND

    1. Stranlund: Professor, Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003. Phone 1-413-545-6328, Fax 1-413-545-5853, E-mail stranlund@resecon.umass.edu
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    • *

      We are grateful to Maria Claudia Lopez and members of the Faculty of Environmental and Rural Studies at Javeriana University in Bogotá, Colombia, who provided outstanding support for our work in the field. At each site, the experiments would not have been possible without the assistance of local community leaders who helped the research team develop credibility with local community members. We are also indebted to WWF Colombia for coordinating the fieldwork in the Pacific region. We received valuable comments and ideas from Sylvia Brandt, James Boyce, Juan Camilo Cardenas, and Samuel Bowles. Wendy Varner, and Susanne Hale provided valuable administrative support. Financial support from the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá is gratefully acknowledged. We assume complete responsibility for the final contents of this article.


Abstract

This article uses experimental data to test for a complementary relationship between formal regulations imposed on a community to conserve a local natural resource and nonbinding verbal agreements to do the same. Our experiments were conducted in the field in three regions of Colombia. Our results suggest that the hypothesis of a complementary relationship between communication and external regulation is supported for some combinations of regions and regulations but cannot be supported in general. We conclude that the determination of whether formal regulations and informal communication are complementary must be made on a community-by-community basis. (JEL C93, H41, Q20, Q28)

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