Form Submission: Participation Entry

Abstract: 
NGOs and policymakers are continually searching for programs that relieve poverty, reduce conflict, and slow the exploitation of natural resources, especially as environmental changes threaten to make these problems worse. One solution has been to develop institutions that facilitate negotiation for access to natural resources, helping promote peace and increase welfare in the short-term. However, whether contracting mechanisms also ultimately lead to conservation of resources and long-term welfare increases depends on their ability to close all production margins. Furthermore, cultural changes may lead researchers and local planners to underestimate the importance of substitution effects. I use a stated behavior survey of pastoralists in Laikipia County, Kenya, to show how contracting for grazing access alters relative input prices for grazing activity in communal lands, leading to substitution effects that can adversely impact landscape-level grassland health. This substitution leaves open the possibility of future conflicts and may reduce long-term welfare.