Stakeholder Attitudes and Conservation of Natural Resources: Exploring Alternative Approaches

  • Biswajit Ray
  • Rabindranath Bhattacharya


Individuals make decisions embedded in a social context and their attitudes affect their decisions. Based on this argument, there is a long history of empirical research in social sciences (beyond economics), that elicits subjective testimony on feelings, beliefs, values, expectations, plans, attitudes, and behavior. This body of empirics was excluded from the neoclassical economic analysis on the assumption that individual preferences remain unchanged, despite the fact that economic theorizing often includes reference to attitudes, beliefs and the like. An important example is the data on stakeholder attitudes toward environment (Infield 1988). Its importance has been documented recently (Agrawal 2006) and pro-environmental attitudes studies have started to catch the attention of economists.


Transaction Cost Social Preference Ultimatum Game Community Forestry Dictator Game 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We acknowledge our debt to the Departmental Research Support (DRS)-I of the Department of Economics, University of Calcutta for funding the field experiments and surveys. We thank Sarmila Banerjee for her continued encouragement. We also thank Puspendu Maity, Jayanta Chakraborty and their team members, foresters, and villagers of the study sites for their kind cooperation during the surveys. Usual disclaimer applies.


  1. Adhikari B (2005) Property rights and collective action: understanding the distributive aspects of common property resource management. Environ Dev Econ 10(1):7–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agarwal B (1992) The gender and environment debate: lessons from India. Fem Stud 18:119–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Agarwal B (2001) Participatory exclusions, community forestry and gender: An analysis and conceptual framework. World Dev 29(10):1623–1648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Agarwal B (2009) Rule making in community forestry institutions: the difference women make. Ecol Econ 68:2296–2308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Agarwal B (2010) Does women’s proportional strength affect their participation? governing local forests in South Asia. World Dev 38(1):98–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Agrawal A (2006) Environmentality: technologies of government and the making of subjects. Oxford University Press, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  7. Ajzen I, Fishbein M (1977) Attitude-behavior relations: a theoretical analysis and review of empirical research. Psychol Bull 8:8–918Google Scholar
  8. Akerlof GA, Kranton RE (2000) Economics and identity. Quart J Econ 15(3):715–753Google Scholar
  9. Ashraf N, Bohnet I, Piankov N (2006) Decomposing trust. Experimental Economics 9(3):193–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Basu K (2006) Identity, trust and altruism: sociological clues to economic development. Cornell University Center for Analytic Economics Working Paper 06–05.
  11. Bellemare C, Kröger S (2003) On representative trust. Tilburg University CentER Discussion Paper 2003-47Google Scholar
  12. Berg J, Dickaut J, McCabe K (1995) Trust, reciprocity and social history. Games Econ Behav 10(1):122–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Berger J, Fisek MH (1974) A generalization of the theory of status characteristics and expectation states. In: Berger J, Conner TL, Fisek HH (eds) Expectation states theory: a theoretical research program. Winthrop, Cambridge, pp 163–205Google Scholar
  14. Bolton GE, Katok E (1995) An experimental test for gender differences in beneficent behavior. Econ Lett 48:287–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bouma J, Bulte E, van Soest D (2008) Trust and cooperation: social capital and community resource management. J Environ Econ Manag 56(2):155–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bratton KA, Ray LP (2002) Descriptive representation, policy outcomes, and municipal day-care coverage in Norway. Am J Polit Sci 46(2):428–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Brewer M, Kramer RM (1986) Choice behavior in Social dilemmas: effects of social identity, group size and decision framing. J Pers Soc Psychol 50:543–549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Buchan NR, Croson R, Solnick SJ (2008) Trust and gender: an examination of behavior and beliefs in the investment game. J Econ Behav Organ 68(3–4):466–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Campbell JP, Dunnette MP, Arvey RP, Hellervik LV (1973) The development and evaluation of behaviorally based rating scales. J Appl Psychol 57:15–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cardenas JC (2003) Real wealth and experimental cooperation: evidence from field experiments. J Dev Econ 70(2):263–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cardenas JC, Carpenter J (2008) Behavioural development economics: Lessons from field labs in the developing world. J Dev Stud 44(3):311–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cardenas JC, Stranlund J, Willis C (2002) Economic inequality and burden-sharing in the provision of local environmental quality. Ecol Econ 40(3):1–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Carpenter J, Daniere A, Takahashi L (2004a) Social capital and trust in Southeast Asian cities. Urban Stud 41(4):853–874CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Carpenter J, Daniere A, Takahashi L (2004b) Cooperation, trust, and social capital in Southeast Asian urban slums. J Econ Behav Organ 55(4):533–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Carter M, Castillo M (2003) An experimental approach to social capital in South Africa. Working paper, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of WisconsinGoogle Scholar
  26. Castillo M, Carter M (2003) Identifying social effects in economic field experiments. Working paper, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of WisconsinGoogle Scholar
  27. Chakrabarti M, Khaling S, Bhattacharya J, Ghosh SR, Sarkar A, (2001) Functioning of joint forest management in the forests of North Bengal: observations from 12 IFRI sites. Paper presented at a dissemination Seminar, December 2001. St.Joseph’s College, Darjeeling, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  28. Chakravarty S, Friedman D, Gupta G, Hatekar N, Mitra S, Sundar S (2011) Experimental economics: a survey. Econ Polit Wkly 56(35):39–78Google Scholar
  29. Chen Y, Li SX (2009) Group identity and social preferences. Am Econ Rev 99(1):431–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Correll SJ, Ridgeway CL (2003) Expectation states theory. In: Delamater J (ed) Handbook of social psychology. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, pp 29–51Google Scholar
  31. Cox JC (2004) How to identify trust and reciprocity. Games Econ Behav 46(2):260–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Croson R, Gneezy U (2009) Gender differences in preferences. J Econ Lit 47(2):448–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Cronbach LJ (1951) Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests. Psychometrika 16:297–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Danielson A, Holm H (2007) Do you trust your brethren? Eliciting trust attitudes and trust behavior in a Tanzanian congregation. J Econ Behav Organ 62(2):255–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Davis JB (2006) Social identity strategies in recent economics. J Econ Methodol 13(3):371–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Dawis RV (1986) Scale construction. J Couns Psychol 34(4):481–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Dunlap RE, Jones RE (2002) Environmental concern: conceptual and measurement issues. In: Dunlap RE, Michelson W (eds) Handbook of environmental sociology. Greenwood Press, Westport, pp 482–524Google Scholar
  38. Dunlap RE, Van Liere KD (1978) The new environmental paradigm. J Environ Educt 9:10–19Google Scholar
  39. Dunlap RE, Van Liere KD, Mertig A, Jones RE (2000) Measuring endorsement of the new ecological paradigm: a revised NEP scale. J Soc Issues 56:425–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Durlauf SN (2002) On the empirics of social capital. Econ J 112(483):459–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Eckel CC, Grossman PJ (1998) Are women less selfish than men: evidence from dictator experiments. Econ J 108:726–735CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Eckel CC, Grossman PJ (2001) Chivalry and solidarity in ultimatum games. Econ Inq 39(2):171–188Google Scholar
  43. Eckel CC, Grossman PJ (2005) Managing diversity by creating team identity. J Econ Behav Organ 58:371–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Eckel CC, Fatas E, Wilson R (2010) Cooperation and status in organizations. J Public Econ Theory 12(4):737–762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Fischbacher Urs (2007) z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments. Exp Econ 10(2):171–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Greig F, Bohnet I (2005) Is there reciprocity in a reciprocal-exchange economy? Evidence from a slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Working paper, Kennedy School of GovernmentGoogle Scholar
  47. Heffetz O, Frank RH (2011) Preferences for status: evidence and economic implications. In: Benhabib J, Bisin A, Jackson M (eds) Handbook of social economics, vol 1A. North-Holland, The Netherlands, pp 69–91Google Scholar
  48. Henrich J (2000) Does culture matter in economic behavior? Ultimatum game bargaining among the Machiguenga Indians of the Peruvian Amazon. Am Econ Rev 90:973–979Google Scholar
  49. Henrich J, Boyd R, Bowles S, Camerer C, Fehr E, Gintis H, McElreath R (2001) In search of homo economics: behavioral experiments in 15 small-scale societies. Am Econ Rev 91(2):73–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Henrich J, McElreath R, Barr A, Ensminger J, Barrett C, Bolyanatz A, Cardenas JC, Gurven M, Gwako E, Henrich N, Lesorogol C, Marlowe F, Tracer D, Ziker J (2006) Costly punishment across human societies. Science 312:1767–1770Google Scholar
  51. Johansson-Stenman O, Mahmud M, Martinsson P (2004) Trust, trust games and stated trust: evidence from rural Bangladesh. Working paper, Department of Economics, Goteborg UniversityGoogle Scholar
  52. Infield M (1988) Attitudes of a rural community towards conservation and a local conservation area in Natal S Africa. Biol Conserv 45:21–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Karlan D (2005) Using experimental economics to measure social capital and predict financial decisions. Am Econ Rev 95(5):1688–1699CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Kreps DM (1990) A course in microeconomic theory. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  55. Likert R (1932) A technique for the measurement of attitudes. Arch Psychol 140:5–55Google Scholar
  56. Liu J, Ouyang Z, Miao H (2010) Environmental attitudes of stakeholders and their perceptions regarding protected area-community conflicts: a case study in China. J Environ Manag 91:2254–2262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Lorenzi-Cioldi F (1991) Self-stereotyping and self-enhancement in gender groups. Eur J Soc Psychol 21:403–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Maloney MP, Ward MP (1973) Ecology: let’s hear it from the people. an objective scale for measurement of ecological attitudes and knowledge. Am Psychol 28:583–586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Meeker BF, Weitzel-O’Neill PA (1977) Sex roles and interpersonal behavior in task-oriented groups. Am Sociol Rev 42:91–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Mehta JN, Heinen JT (2001) Does community-based conservation shape favourable attitudes among locals? An empirical study from Nepal. Environ Manag 28:165–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Milfont TL, Duckitt J (2010) The environmental attitudes inventory: a valid and reliable measure to assess the structure of environmental attitudes. J Environ Psychol 30:80–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Mukherjee P (2011) Attitudes, institutions and cooperation: does gender matter in joint forest management in West Bengal, India? M.Phil Dissertation, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  63. Netemeyer RG, Bearden WO, Sharma S (2003) Scaling procedures: issues and application. Sage Publications, LondonGoogle Scholar
  64. Orbell JM, Van de Kragt AJC, Dawes RM (1988) Explaining discussion-induced cooperation. J Pers Soc Psychol 54:811–819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ostrom E (1990) Governing the commons. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  66. Ostrom E (1992) The rudiments of a theory of the origins, survival, and performance of common-property institutions. In: Bromley DW, Feeny D, McKean MA, Peters P, Gilles JL, Oakerson RJ, Runge CF, Thomson JT (eds) Making the commons work: theory, practice, and policy. ICS Press, San Francisco, pp 293–318Google Scholar
  67. Pender JL (1996) Discount rates and credit markets: theory and evidence from rural India. J Dev Econ 50(2):257–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Pichevin M, Hurtic M (1996) Describing men, describing women: sex membership salience and numerical distinctiveness. Eur J Soc Psychol 26:513–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Poteete AR, Ostrom E (2004) Heterogeneity, group size and collective action: the role of institutions in forest management. Dev Change 35(3):168–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Quisumbing AR, Haddad L, Christine P (2001) Are women overrepresented among the poor? An analysis of poverty in 10 developing countries. J Dev Econ 66(1):225–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Ray B, Bhattacharya RN (2011) Transaction costs, collective action and survival of heterogeneous co-management institutions: case study of forest management organizations in West Bengal, India. J Dev Stud 47(2):253–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Robinson JP, Shaver RP, Writesman LS (1991) Criteria for scale selection and evaluation. In: Robinson JP, Shaver PR, Writesman LS (eds) Measures of personality and social psychological attitudes. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 1–15Google Scholar
  73. Schmitt N (1996) Uses and abuses of coefficient alpha. Psychol Assess 8(4):350–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Seguino S, Stevens T, Lutz MA (1996) Gender and cooperative behavior: economic man rides alone. Fem Econ 2(1):1–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Sell J, Wilson RK (1991) Levels of information and public goods. Soc F 70:107–124. Google Scholar
  76. Sell J, Griffith WI, Wilson RK (1993) Are women more cooperative than men in social dilemmas? Soc Psychol Q 56:211–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Sell J (1997) Gender, strategies, and contributions to public goods. Soc Psychol Q 60(3):252–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Shanmugaratnam N, Vedeld T, Mossige A, Bovin M (1992) Resource management and pastoral institution building in the West African Sahel. World Bank Discussion Papers, No. 175, The World Bank, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  79. Shogren JF, Taylor LO (2008) On behavioral environmental economics. Rev Environ Econ Policy 2(1):26–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Sinha H, Suar D (2005) Leadership and people’s participation in community forestry. Int J Rural Manag 1(1):125–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Solnick SJ (2001) Gender differences in the ultimatum game. Econ Inq 39(2):189–200Google Scholar
  82. Tajfel H (1972) Social categorization. In: Moscovici S (ed), Introduction a` la psychologie sociale. 1, Paris, Larousse, pp 272–302Google Scholar
  83. Tajfel H, Turner JC (1986) The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. In: Austin W, Worchel S (eds) The social psychology of intergroup relations monterey. Brooks, Cole, pp 7–24Google Scholar
  84. Varughese G, Ostrom E (2001) The contested role of heterogeneity in collective action: some evidence from community forestry in Nepal. World Dev 29(5):747–765CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Vedeld T (2000) Village politics: heterogeneity, leadership and collective action. J Dev Stud 36(5):105–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Weigel R, Weigel J (1978) Environmental concern: the development of a measure. Environ Behav 10:3–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Wood W, Karten SJ (1986) Sex differences in interaction style as a product of perceived sex differences in competence. J Pers Soc Psychol 50:341–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of CalcuttaKolkataIndia
  2. 2.UGC DRS-1, Department of EconomicsUniversity of Calcutta and Center for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta (CSSSC)KolkataIndia

Personalised recommendations