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Inequality, Cooperation, and Environmental Sustainability

Edited By: Jean-Marie Baland, Pranab Bardhan and Samuel Bowles

360 pages, illus

Princeton University Press

Hardback | Dec 2006 | #175796 | ISBN: 0691128790
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £48.99 $64/€56 approx

About this book

Would improving the economic, social, and political condition of the world's disadvantaged people slow - or accelerate - environmental degradation?

In "Inequality, Cooperation, and Environmental Sustainability", leading social scientists provide answers to this difficult question, using new research on the impact of inequality on environmental sustainability. The contributors' findings suggest that inequality may exacerbate environmental problems by making it more difficult for individuals, groups, and nations to cooperate in the design and enforcement of measures to protect natural assets ranging from local commons to the global climate.

But a more equal division of a given amount of income could speed the process of environmental degradation - for example, if the poor value the preservation of the environment less than the rich do, or if the consumption patterns of the poor entail proportionally greater environmental degradation than that of the rich. The contributors also find that the effect of inequality on cooperation and environmental sustainability depends critically on the economic and political institutions governing how people interact, and the technical nature of the environmental asset in question.

The contributors focus on the local commons because many of the world's poorest depend on them for their livelihoods, and recent research has made great strides in showing how private incentives, group governance, and government policies might combine to protect these resources.

Inequality, Cooperation and Environmental Sustainability is a highly valuable book, rich in information, innovative in approach, eminently readable (if not suitable to the undergraduate student) and relevant to a wide scholarship interested in environmental commons and sustainability issues. -- Luigi Pellizzoni, Sociologica


Preface vii CHAPTER 1: Introduction by Jean-Marie Baland, Pranab Bardhan, and Samuel Bowles 1 CHAPTER 2: Collective Action on the Commons: The Role of Inequality by Jean-Marie Baland and Jean-Philippe Platteau 10 CHAPTER 3: Inequality and Collective Action by Pranab Bardhan, Maitreesh Ghatak, and Alexander Karaivanov 36 CHAPTER 4: Adoption of a New Regulation for the Governance of Common-Pool Resources by a Heterogeneous Population by Marco A. Janssen and Elinor Ostrom 60 CHAPTER 5: Inequality and the Governance of Water Resources in Mexico and South India by Pranab Bardhan and Jeff Dayton-Johnson 97 CHAPTER 6: Managing Pacific Salmon: The Role of Distributional Conflicts in Coastal Salish Fisheries by Sara Singleton 131 CHAPTER 7: Heterogeneity and Collective Action for Effort Regulation: Lessons from Senegalese Small-Scale Fisheries by Frederic Gaspart and Jean-Philippe Platteau 159 CHAPTER 8: Wealth Inequality and Overexploitation of the Commons: Field Experiments in Colombia by Juan-Camilo Cardenas 205 CHAPTER 9: Collective Action for Forest Conservation: Does Heterogeneity Matter? by Eswaran Somanathan, Rajagopal Prabhakar, and Bhupendra Singh Mehta 234 CHAPTER 10: Inequality, Collective Action, and the Environment: Evidence from Firewood Collection in Nepal by Jean-Marie Baland, Pranab Bardhan, Sanghamitra Das, Dilip Mookherjee, and Rinki Sarkar 246 CHAPTER 11: Gender Inequality, Cooperation, and Environmental Sustainability by Bina Agarwal 274 CHAPTER 12: Inequality and Environmental Protection by James K. Boyce 314 Index 349

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Jean-Marie Baland is Professor of Economics at the University of Namur in Belgium. Pranab Bardhan is Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Samuel Bowles is Research Professor at the Santa Fe Institute and Professor of Economics at the University of Siena.

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