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Sanctioned quotas vs information provisioning for community wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe: A framed field experiment approach

We investigate the behavioural responses of resource users to policy interventions like sanctioned quotas and information provisioning. We do so in a context when multiple resources (pastures and wild animal stocks) are connected and could substantially and drastically deteriorate as a result of management. We perform an experimental study among communities that are managing common pool wildlife in Zimbabwe. We find that user groups manage these resource systems more efficiently when faced with either a policy intervention, or the possibility of a drastic drop in stocks or combination of both, compared to groups facing a standard resource growth without possibility of drastic drop. Although a sanctioned quota performs better than information under some circumstances, information can be a good substitute in situations when a quota is either suboptimal or expensive as is the case in most developing countries. However, the combination of both interventions is better than either quota or information in managing complex ecosystems. Our main innovation is applicability of the experimental design, including complexities associated with linked resource systems. Our study also provides pragmatic evidence of the role of carrot and stick institutions versus information provisioning in governing common-pool wildlife in Southern Africa. These results can inform policymakers and development practitioners. If they aim to avoid a drastic drop in linked resources, they can either use a policy intervention with sanctioned quota or information. The combination of both types of interventions might be most appropriate.

Working paper 772
28 January 2019
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Environmental and Resource Economics
1 March 2023
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