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Do Stronger Collective Property Rights Improve Household Welfare? Evidence from a Field Study in Fiji

Author: Terra Lawson-Remer
March 2013
World Development


Extensive previous work has analyzed the functioning of collective ownership institutions, arguing that such institutions can better govern common pool resources under some conditions than private or state ownership. However, empirical research regarding the impact of stronger collective ownership rights on household welfare is limited. Exploiting a natural experiment, this article uses a unique dataset to examine the impact of collective fisheries ownership on household income and food consumption in Fiji. Strengthening collective ownership rights improves household welfare as indicated by food consumption, but does not increase monetary income. Income improvements are instead attributable to Nongovernmental organization (NGO) project support.

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