Dufwenberg, Martin Köhlin, Gunnar Martinsson, Peter Medhin, Haileselassie
Year of Publication:
CESifo Working Paper 4864
Land conflicts in developing countries are costly. An important policy goal is to create respect for borders. This often involves mandatory, expensive interventions. We propose a new policy design, which in theory promotes neighborly relations at low cost. A salient feature is the option to by-pass regulation through consensus. The key idea combines the insight that social preferences transform social dilemmas into coordination problems with the logic of forward induction. As a first, low-cost pass at empirical evaluation, we conduct an experiment among farmers in the Ethiopian highlands, a region exhibiting features typical of countries where borders are often disputed. Our results suggest that a low-cost land delimitation based on neighborly recognition of borders could deliver a desired low-conflict situation if accompanied by an optional higher cost demarcation process.
conflict land-conflict game social preferences forward induction Ethiopia experiment land reform