Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Krister Par Andersson

Second Advisor

Lee Alston

Third Advisor

Lisa Dilling

Fourth Advisor

Benjamin Hale

Fifth Advisor

Maxwell Boykoff


This dissertation investigates how (a) economic, land-based, and sociocultural heterogeneities among those who depend on the forest for their livelihoods, and (b) the institutions that govern how forest resources are managed, jointly shape forest governance outcomes. The first chapter introduces the overall argument of the dissertation, and outlines its structure. The second chapter presents a systematic review of relevant literature. The third chapter presents an analysis of county level data to test multiple hypotheses about the roles of income and land-based inequality in driving forest outcomes. I find that economic inequality and land inequality tend to adversely affect forest governance outcomes, as has been found in the literature. However, the Bolivian data also reveals a novel finding: titling appears to moderate the adverse effect of economic inequality on forest condition change. The fourth chapter assesses the different flavors of inequality and heterogeneity at the community level, through a comparative case study of two Bolivian lowlands communities. I make the case that while titling and economic inequality may have a mutually moderated effect, as found in the second chapter, the situation is actually more complex; titling is not a panacea for good forest governance. In particular, I argue that network-based inequality, wherein actors without strong connections to powerful actors receive fewer benefits and have much less decision-making authority than others, is a proximate driver of forest governance outcomes. In the fifth chapter, institutional design is assessed as a driver of forest governance outcomes, and moreover as a likely mitigating factor for network-based inequality. Several specific hypotheses are posited from this analysis. The hypotheses generated from the comparative institutional analysis of the two Bolivian communities are then tested using municipal data from Bolivia. I find that institutional redundancy and multiple loci of governance in forests are associated with better forest outcomes. However, I fail to find support for the hypothesis that institutional redundancy and polycentric governance bolster the de facto enforcement of de jure property rights; further directions for study are therefore suggested.