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AuthorVainio, Matti
TitleThe Effect of Unclear Property Rights on Environmental Degradation and Increase in Poverty
Imprint Geneva : United Nations, 1998
Descript iii, 37 p. : graphs


Summary: Insecure, unclear or non-existent property rights explain why poor people suffer from or cause environmental degradation. By better defining property rights, poverty can be alleviated and the environment improved. Governments have a special responsibility to provide corrective action in the presence of negative externalities because only governments can establish and enforce legal frameworks for regulating the use of environmental resources. Moreover, governments transfer resources between different social groups placing them in a unique position to eradicate poverty. Unidirectional negative externalities are particularly anti-poor, because the poor tend to be the victims. Subsidies to energy, agricultural inputs and many other potentially environmentally hazardous activities are unjustified not only because of their negative economic impact but also for environmental and poverty reasons. Many country and local case studies show that local communities loose resources to powerful, outside-the-community groups. Governments need to reverse this and support instead the management of common property resources. They also need to change the property regimes of de facto and de jure open-access resources. In both cases, justification lies in the higher sustainable yield on natural assets and in the reduction of poverty

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