Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental and Natural Resources Economics

Department

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics

First Advisor

Emi Uchida

Abstract

Using natural resources sustainably while reducing poverty is one of the greatest global challenges, especially in developing countries where rural communities rely on natural resources for their livelihood. In this dissertation, I examine the interactions between poverty and natural resource depletions in the coastal communities of Tanzania. Chapter 1 explores the effects of subsidies and social nudges on collective action by resource users and whether extrinsic motivation crowd out intrinsic motivation for those actions. The results from a framed field experiment conducted in coastal communities in Tanzania reveal that while the subsidies and social nudges themselves motivate the resource users to allocate more time to plant mangroves, the combination of subsidies and social nudges decrease intrinsic motivations. Chapters 2 and 3 use panel household survey data collected from resource-dependent households in coastal Tanzania to analyze the interaction between shocks and households’ natural resource use. Chapter 2 investigates the problem of drinking water salinization as a potential source of chronic poverty. We find that the level of salinity in the drinking water wells increases time spent to collect water, thereby decreasing labor. In chapter 3, we examine the potential tradeoff between extractive and non-extractive benefits from mangrove forests and whether these benefits correlate with poverty. The results suggest that households who experience more shocks engaged in more fishing, a non-extractive benefit of mangrove forests that serves as a safety net to the households especially the poorest ones. Additionally, the poorer households tend to also rely more on the extractive benefits of the mangrove, such as using as cooking energy and build materials.

Available for download on Sunday, February 13, 2022

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