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Governance and deforestation — a meta-analysis in economics

Johanna Wehkamp, Nicolas Koch, Sebastian Lübbers and Sabine Fuss

Ecological Economics, 2018, vol. 144, issue C, 214-227

Abstract: Understanding which aspects of forest governance have the potential to effectively reduce deforestation is central to reversing trends in global deforestation. There is a multitude of empirical studies examining this relationship using various measures of governance and study designs, coming to diverse conclusions. In order to identify the source of variation across studies, this article conducts a meta-analysis of 32 empirical cross-country studies in the field of economics, containing 227 estimates of the impact of different governance measures on deforestation. Using an ordered probit model, we find that the choice of the governance measure is the main factor in explaining variations in the outcomes of the studies. In particular, studies using environmental policy, ownership rights, presence of environmental NGOs, and rule of law as measures of governance, are more likely to find that better governance reduces deforestation. In contrast, studies using democracy and rights as a measure of governance are more likely to find that deforestation increases, when governance is improved. The finding that not all aspects of governance improvements are equally supportive of forest conservation suggests that more nuanced analyses of specific aspects of environmental governance are required to guide evidence-based policy making.

Keywords: Deforestation; Governance; Meta-analysis; Institutions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q23 Q28 Q56 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:144:y:2018:i:c:p:214-227