Summary of "Natural Resource Policy-Making in Developing Countries: Environment, Economic Growth, and Income Distribution"

 

Summary of

Natural Resource Policy-Making in Developing Countries: Environment, Economic Growth, and Income Distribution

By William Ascher and Robert Healy

Summary written by T.A. O'Lonergan, Conflict Research Consortium


Citation: Natural Resource Policy-Making in Developing Countries: Environment, Economic Growth, and Income Distribution, William Ascher and Robert Healy, (North Carolina: 1990), 210pp.


Natural Resource Policy-Making in Developing Countries: Environment, Economic Growth, and Income Distribution is required reading for PSCI 5076/7076 as taught by Professor Sam Fitch. The work will be of interest to those who wish to broaden their understanding of the complexities of natural resource management. The authors begin with an introduction in which they briefly address economic development and focus upon concepts of sustainable development. The authors provide a summary of the text which cannot be improved upon by this author and thus will be quoted in its entirety.

"The book has three major parts. First, a theoretical framework is elaborated that demonstrates the inter- relationships among economic production, natural resources, the environment, and the distribution of income and wealth. The framework allows us to trace the complex impacts which change in one of these elements has on all the others, emphasizing impact sequences that start with deliberate attempts by policy- makers to raise the level of economic production. This "impact framework" is introduced in chapter 2.

The second part of the book applies the impact framework to major development efforts that entail transforming resource endowments and uses: the modernization of agriculture and forestry (chapter 3),population resettlement schemes (chapter 4), large dams (chapter 5), and irrigation projects (chapter6). Each chapter contains many examples taken from the literature and from case studies specially prepared for this book. The cases presented here are only a subset of the enormous number of possible examples which could be used to explore the implications of our analytic framework

The third part of the book analyzes current and potential roles of public policy. Chapter 7 analyzes the process of resources policy-making from the point at which problems reach the policy agenda (initiation stage) through successive stages of policy analysis and consideration of alternatives (estimation stage), authoritative selection, implementation and, eventually, policy evaluation and termination. We observe that each stage of the policy process seems to be associated with characteristic pitfalls.

Chapter 8 analyzes possibilities for policy reform intended to address the pitfalls identified in chapter 7. Using the policy process framework, it evaluates the usefulness of such frequently suggested reforms as comprehensive planning, decentralized administration, citizen participation. and greater use of market incentives. The chapter offers concrete suggestions for improving administrative structures and the policies they formulate and implement."

Natural Resource Policy-making in Developing Countries: Environment, Economic Growth, and Income Distribution an analysis of policy-making which proposes a theoretical framework upon which to build natural resource policy-making which promotes sustainable development.