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Herders response to acute land pressure under changing property rights: some insights from Kajiado District, Kenya



This paper examines the response of herders to increased shortage and degradation of land in an arid and semi-arid land setting in Kenya, under changing property right regimes using both survey and secondary data. We argue that the responses adopted are livelihood strategies to improve herder's welfare. We explore the determinants of three different strategies: crop cultivation, investment in land improvements, and migration with livestock. We employ the probit regression framework to explain each strategy. The main findings of the study are that private property rights, educational attainment, and availability of water are major determinants of the three strategies. We recommend policies that favour privatization of existing common property resources, improve education levels, and increase supply of water in the district.



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The author wishes to sincerely thank Prof. Jean-Phillipe Platteau for his valuable insights on analytical issues in the preparation of this paper. Special thanks also go to Professors Karl-Göran Mäler, Partha Dasgupta and David Starrett as well as participants of two Beijer Advanced Workshops on Property Rights and Environmental Resource Management, and participants of the Programme on Ecological Economics at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Italy for useful insights on an earlier draft of this paper. Thanks are also due to Professor Germano Mwabu of the University of Nairobi. The usual disclaimer applies.



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