The Nature of Household Dependence on Common Pool Resources: An Empirical Study in India

Type Journal Article - Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, India
Title The Nature of Household Dependence on Common Pool Resources: An Empirical Study in India
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
Common pool resources (CPRs) are resources to which varying degrees of access by local communities exist. While they may not be governed by strictly defined common property regimes, they do not permit of open access . Forests constitute a large component of CPRs. A recent set of studies on forest based CPRs distinguishes between household dependence on high value and low value forest products in terms of its welfare implications, The former is interpreted as dependence in the presence of choice and the latter as dependence in situations without choice. These studies the n hypothesize that such a distinction is critical both from the perspective of policy making with a focus on human well-being. This paper aims at testing this hypothesis by distinguishing between collection of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) for self-consumption and for sale, using data collected for a sample of approximately 78,000 households from different states of India. The hypothesis stated above is tested with data from four states, Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, selected fo r the presence of a large magnitude of forest CPRs. The econometric analysis of household data (using the multinomial logit and logit frameworks) from the cross-sectional data set is rooted in a simple static household-decision making model. Results obtained indicate that, in general, in the four states studied, households collecting only for sale are not likely to be income poor; they may even be asset rich and collect because they have more secure property rights. They also have greater access to forests and to markets. In pockets of the country, forest CPRs are providing the basis of income generation for households with multiple options. These results point towards the possibility of a new role for NTFP collection from CPRs in the context of market driven development.

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