Managing behaviour : an experimental study into the behaviour of Tanzanian forest users
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- Master's theses (HH) 
As the dire consequences of tropical deforestation and forest degradation are recognised at both local and global levels, a myriad of measures to mitigate the problem is proposed. Despite these measures affecting local forest users in their daily interaction with forest resources, their actual impact on behaviour is not thoroughly researched. One reason might be the difficulty of assessing the measures’ ceteris paribus effects on behaviour. The random and controlled attributes of economic experiments allow researchers to observe causal relationships in the behaviour of the participants. A common criticism, though, refers to the generalizability (external validity) of findings in abstract laboratory experiments. A valid experimental study therefore needs to acknowledge the relevance of field context in the experimental design. Through an experimental study in Tanzania consisting of 36 field experiments with 288 participants, this thesis aims to contribute to both the advancement of experimental economics and to the forest management literature. Measures to mitigate deforestation and forest degradation can be classified by the intended mechanism to reduce forest use. The thesis assesses the impact of three management regimes: command and control (CAC), payment for environmental systems (PES), and community forest management (CFM). The regimes are imposed as treatments in the field experiments. The experimental study finds that the regimes’ impact on the behaviour of the participants varies, and that individual and group characteristics affect the impact of the regimes; as well as general behaviour. Overall, the CFM regime reduces forest use the most, while the CAC regime reduces forest use the most among women and older participants. The PES regime reduces forest use slightly more than open access, at best. In terms of characteristics, women are more aggressive harvesters than men are, but including more women in the group at the same time decreases the groups’ aggregate harvest. Younger participants are more aggressive harvesters than older participants are, but the effect of older participants on others is negligible. Ethnic group heterogeneity has an ambiguous effect on behaviour. The results indicate that the choice of regime matter for the impact on the behaviour of forest users, and that the impact varies with the characteristics of the forest users and their community. Therefore, the thesis argues that field experiments provide an essential method for ex-ante impact assessment of planned forest management.