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Assessing the impact of institutional conditions upon REDD+

Laing, Timothy (2014) Assessing the impact of institutional conditions upon REDD+. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis investigates the role that institutional conditions have on policy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) by applying a New Institutional Economics perspective and a multimethodological approach. It focuses on three specific institutional conditions: property rights, governance and politics, and applies theoretical and empirical techniques. A single case study of Guyana’s innovative REDD+ programme is used for empirical analysis. The thesis provides contributions to normative and evaluative REDD+ literature, especially with regard to early assessments of the design, impacts and effectiveness of national-level REDD+. It makes subsidiary contributions in the areas of small-scale mining, policy design under political influence and environmental governance. Through analytical modelling the thesis finds that design of REDD+ is significantly altered when placed in a general equilibrium setting, along with when political influence is included. Econometric analysis of a unique data-set from Guyana shows effects from electoral cycles on the holding of property rights relating to the main driver of deforestation, mining, along with the introduction of REDD+. Qualitative analysis of interviews and media sources highlight that governance of REDD+ in Guyana has remained predominantly state-centric, with only some evidence that multi-actor, multilevel governance has emerged. Issues such as capacity, political will, electioneering, the retained control of finance by donors and the introduction of complicated systems of safeguards have all affected the emergence of ‘pure’ REDD+ in Guyana. The thesis provides key conclusions on the importance of a cognisance of the institutional landscape on which REDD+ is to be implemented. Including such an institutional perspective raises questions over the perceived cheapness of REDD+ as a mitigation option. It offers guidance for the design and implementation of national level REDD+ policy and highlights the need for a differentiated approach to REDD+, factoring in the relevant institutional conditions prevalent in each jurisdiction.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Timothy Laing
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Palmer, Charles

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