The role of leadership in the collective enforcement of community property rights in Indonesia

  • Palmer C
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Abstract

Decentralization in Indonesia allowed forest-dependent communities to negotiate with logging firms for financial and in-kind benefits. Given weak property rights, communities self-enforced their property rights over forest areas vis-à-vis other communities and firms found in noncompliance with logging agreements. This article assesses the processes underlying collective action in the enforcement of community property rights in East Kalimantan. In the absence of credible alternatives, intercommunity collective action led to a centralized leadership, which provided a forum for the discussion and settlement of disputes. Limited evidence suggests that further intercommunity collective action was galvanized through effective leadership, thus ensuring cooperation among communities sharing forest areas. However, the household incentive to involve in intracommunity collective action may have been negatively affected by a leadership that discouraged participation in decision making and imposed its policies in a top-down manner. The results suggest that “leadership†can be both a cause and outcome of collective action.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Collective action
  • Communities
  • Contracts
  • Leadership
  • Negotiations
  • Property rights
  • Self-enforcement

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