Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Resource Economics

Dissertation of Tan Quang Nguyen

What Benefits and for Whom? Effects of Devolution of Forest Management in Dak Lak, Vietnam

Start: 2000
End: 2004

This research looks into two types of benefits from forest devolution, namely forest endowments and entitlements, and tries to understand the effects of this policy program on the agrarian differentiation among local households and villages. It does so based on materials from 13 villages in Dak Lak province, Central Highlands of Vietnam. The study responds to the concerns of the policy makers in Vietnam about the economic benefits from forest devolution to local people. In the broader context, it expects to contribute empirically to the literature on property rights in land, entitlements, agrarian differentiation, and forest devolution. In addition, the work hopes to contribute to the development of the environmental entitlement framework, which is adapted as the conceptual framework for this research, and to the discussion on the combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches in an empirical research. The study results show that significant variations exist in the distribution of forest endowments and entitlements among local households and villages. Devolution policy is not the only institution that can have effect on the devolved forest. Differences exist between the legal endowments defined by devolution policy and the endowments being practiced at the local level. In addition, the acquisition of forest entitlements does not only depend on the forest endowments. The variations in forest endowments are related to the practice of state patronage and the differentiation in forest entitlements among local households is influenced by household access to labor and capital resources. Furthermore, devolution has the potential to affect the existing differences in agrarian society but its effects are more likely to occur among households than among villages.

Researcher: Nguyen, Tan Quang

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Konrad Hagedorn