Comparing forest decentralization and local institutional change in Bolivia, Kenya, Mexico, and Uganda

Eric A. Coleman, Forrest D. Fleischman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


In this paper we assess the institutional and environmental impacts of forest decentralization in Bolivia, Kenya, Mexico, and Uganda. We develop theories of institutional impacts based upon the specific content of decentralization reforms. We classify each country's reforms in terms of the creation/change in local user group empowerment and accountability mechanisms. Using data from the International Forestry Resources and Institutions Program, we estimate the effects of forest decentralization on local forest investments, rulemaking, wealth inequality, and forest conditions in the four countries. Some results support our theory, but the theory is insufficient to explain the full range of outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-849
Number of pages14
JournalWorld Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to acknowledge generous financial and administrative support from the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Collaborative Research Support Program (SANREM), the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, and the International Forestry Resources and Institutions Program. Additional funding for Forrest Fleischman’s work on this project came from a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship #2007054263. We thank Jacqueline Bauer, Krister Andersson, and Elinor Ostrom for extensive comments on the drafts of this paper, as well as our collaborators in Mexico, Bolivia, Uganda, and Kenya, who worked so hard to gather this data. Any remaining errors are our own.

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Bolivia
  • Decentralization
  • Forestry
  • Kenya
  • Mexico
  • Uganda

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