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The colonial origins of deforestation: an institutional analysis

Abstract : This paper investigates whether inherited colonial legacies influence deforestation rates in 60 former colonized developing countries. It is hypothesized that differences in deforestation among countries can be attributed to their colonial legacies shaping the current impact of the institutional background on deforestation. Overall, the author finds that institutions defined as the extent of democracy, the quality of property rights and the quality of government functioning (e.g., corruption), have a differential impact on deforestation rates according to colonial legacies as defined by the identity of the colonizer. More precisely, it is found that: (1) in countries characterized by ‘bad’ governance, former French colonies deforest relatively less than former British and Spanish colonies; whereas (2) in countries characterized by ‘good’ governance, the result is reversed. These results are robust when geography features are controlled for since the process of colonization was not random and depended on initial geographic and climatic conditions.
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Submitted on : Friday, March 18, 2016 - 3:17:19 PM
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  • HAL Id : halshs-01290789, version 1



Sébastien Marchand. The colonial origins of deforestation: an institutional analysis. Environment and Development Economics, 2015, 21 (3), pp.318-349. ⟨halshs-01290789⟩



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