Leader turnover and forest management outcomes: Micro-level evidence from Ethiopia

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The presence of persistent elite capture has been suggested as a reason for the mixed livelihood outcomes of participatory forest management. Leadership selection may overcome this. While there is a growing evidence that leaders are important for economic performance both at macro and micro (e.g., firms, villages, forest user groups) levels, few recent studies looked into a logical extension of this: leader turnover matters for economic growth, social welfare and political liberalization. We present new micro-level evidence linking leader turnover to forest management outcomes. Using data on forest user groups in rural Ethiopia, we find that leader turnover is positively correlated with forest management outcomes. Additional analysis suggests that the nature of this relation is causal: groups with higher leader turnover maintained higher forest stock, benefit more from the forest and have fairer distribution of these benefits. A closer look at forest governance reveals that groups with higher leader turnover elect leaders who are educated and perform better as well as held frequent group meetings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104765
JournalWorld Development
Volume127
ISSN0305-750X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

ID: 230858380