Equity in a pastoral commons : Bayan Mountain, Mongolia : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Development Studies

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Massey University
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Common property regimes (CPRs) have been embraced as a means to achieve sustainable use of resources. However, it is also claimed that these and other forms of communal resource management can allow for equitable access to resources, which is of some importance given the heavier reliance of poorer households on common resources. This view however appears to be contradicted by the existence of wealth differentiation among resource users, suggesting that the reality is more complex. This case study of a local pastoral commons used by Kazak herders in western Mongolia explores factors influencing both access to resources and wealth differentiation, which has been considerable since the end of socialism and attempts to evaluate the extent to which resource access in the CPR can be considered equitable. There is differential resource access in the study community, both in terms of rights of access, with some inequities linked to non-wealth-related household characteristics, and in terms of the ability to realise nominal access rights, which is chiefly affected by relative wealth. Although allocation of access rights is not discriminatory, the interrelationship between wealth and resource access thus serves to reinforce wealth differentiation. Wealth differentiation itself however depends on multiple factors including but not limited to resource access, and does not reliably indicate inequitable access to resources. The case study indicates that CPRs cannot be considered inherently equitable, but that instead equity in resource access is affected by social differentiation in the user group. In addition, where factors considered necessary to successful collective action are wanting, equitable outcomes seem less likely. Thus most inequities in access rights date back to privatisation in Mongolia and the resulting institutional breakdown and lack of user participation both in allocation of resources and in devising appropriate resource access rules. Despite this, evidence from both the case study and other pastoral commons suggests that CPRs may still offer more equitable access to resources than do other types of property regime.
Commons -- Mongolia -- Ba︠i︡an-Ȯlgiĭ Aĭmag -- Case studies, Range management -- Mongolia -- Ba︠i︡an-Ȯlgiĭ Aĭmag -- Case studies, Pastures -- Mongolia -- Ba︠i︡an-Ȯlgiĭ Aĭmag -- Management -- Case studies, Right of property -- Mongolia -- Ba︠i︡an-Ȯlgiĭ Aĭmag, Wealth -- Mongolia -- Ba︠i︡an-Ȯlgiĭ Aĭmag -- Case studies, Natural resources, Communal, Ba︠i︡an-Ȯlgiĭ Aĭmag (Mongolia)