Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Norwegian University of Life Sciences, School of Economics and Business

No 05-2016: No sense of ownership in weak participation: a forest conservation experiment in Tanzania

Øyvind Nystad Handberg ()
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Øyvind Nystad Handberg: School of Economics and Business, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Postal: Norwegian University of Life Sciences, School of Economics and Business, P.O. Box 5003 NMBU, N-1432 Ås, Norway

Abstract: Sense of ownership is often advocated as an argument for local participation within the epistemic development and nature conservation communities. Stakeholder participation in initiating, designing or implementing institutions is claimed to establish a sense of ownership among the stakeholders and subsequently improve the intended outcomes of the given institution. Theoretical and empirical justications of the hypothesis remain scarce. A better understanding of the eects of local participation can motivate more extensive and stronger participation of local stakeholders and improve institutional performance. This paper applies theories from psychology and behavioral economics to better understand sense of ownership. The empirical investigation is a framed eld experiment, in the context of tropical forest conservation and payments for environmental services in Tanzania. The results lend little support to the hypothesis in this context. The participation treatment in the experiment is weak, and a possible explanation is that sense of ownership is sensitive to the form of participation.

Keywords: articipation; sense of ownership; forestry; Tanzania; framed eld experiment

JEL-codes: C93; Q23

28 pages, December 13, 2016

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