Previous research has identified a range of variables conducive to the self-organization of user groups for participatory resource management, including the physical and technical attributes of the resource, the characteristics of user groups and the nature of institutional arrangements. This paper focuses on household characteristics such as caste and income, and analyzes their impact on the probability of membership in the decision-making unit of local forest management institutions, drawing on primary data from a survey of eight community forest user groups in the mid-hills of Nepal. It shows in particular that members of households belonging to lower-caste groups have a lower probability of being elected as members of the executive committee of user groups. The participation of such households in village meetings, however, also increases the probability of membership within the executive decision-making unit, suggesting that household participation can help to achieve fairer forms of village-level collective action.


Adhikari, B., and Di Falco, S. January 2009. Social inequality and collective action: an empirical study of forest commons. European Journal of Development Research, v.21.

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