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Politicians and Poachers
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  • 4 b/w illus. 4 maps 6 tables
  • Page extent: 264 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.39 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521663786 | ISBN-10: 0521663784)

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$54.99 (P)

This book explores the politics of wildlife conservation policy in Africa, specifically Zambia, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. The book addresses a general question: Why don't wildlife policies seem to be working? Rather than use standard explanations such as "bureaucratic inefficiency" or "corrupt dictators," the book demonstrates how politicians at all levels use wildlife policy for their own political ends, which may or may not include conservation. The book uses electoral and archival data, as well as interviews with individuals ranging from presidents to poachers to address this issue.


1. Politics, institutions, and animals: explaining content, continuity, and change of African wildlife policy; 2. Unkept promises and party largesse: the politics of wildlife in the independence period; 3. The political logic of poaching in one-party states; 4. The conservationists strike back: 'community-based' wildlife policy and the politics of structural choice, 1983–91; 5. The consequences of institutional design: the impact of 'community-based' wildlife management programs at the local level; 6. Conclusion: the political economy of wildlife policy in Africa.


"This is a thoroughly researched and carefully argued examination of an important, even fascinating, subject: the contemporary crisis of wildlife management in the face of a decades-long poaching onslaught. The book is well presented by Cambridge University Press. It will have great interest ofr readers of the Cambridge series in which it appears. Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions, due to its successful extension of theoretical concerns deriving from the study of the developed world's constitutional and parliamentary systems to the one-party and 'strong man' regimes of postcolonial Africa." International Journal of African Historical Studies

"...[an] innovative study..." Foreign Affairs

"This interesting and insightful book on the political economy of wildlife policy in Africa is an important contribution to the literature not only on African politics but also on the role that institutions play in shaping behaviour and decisions." American Political Science Review

"...This book would provide good background information for anyone interested in the politics,economics,or wildlife policy of Africa during the independence period....appropriate for undergraduate and graduate collections." Della Darby, Journal of Government Information

"For the most part, Gibson's analyses are insightful and convincing. He provides fine detail on how patronage-seeking politicians of the one-party state system combined with a declining economic situation to generate a wide spread shadow market in wildlife products." The Professional Geographer

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