Amy Poteete | Exclusion, Redistribution, Cooperation

Date: February 4, 2016
Time: 5:30pm Location: Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall (FHI Garage) - C105, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse

Please join the PAL-FHI Seminar in Cooperation for its first public event.

Dr. Amy Poteete’s research explores interactions between political competition, policy, and political development in the context of policies for natural resource management and decentralization in Africa. Her early work analyzed the role of bureaucratic and local-level elections in the implementation of natural resource policies in Botswana. Dr. Poteete’s more recent work investigates development and change in countries where a single political party has exercised dominance for extended periods. She also has a longstanding interest in the study of distributional issues and the potential for political empowerment through collective action, participatory policy processes, and decentralization.

Scarcity and degradation of shared resources encourage efforts to restrict extraction. Such restrictions can be achieved directly, by limiting the quantities extracted, or indirectly, by restricting the number of people engaged in extraction. In other words, sustaining scarce resources entails a choice between redistribution and exclusion. Where some see efficiency enhancing clarifications of property rights, others see enclosures and resource grabbing.

The choice also reflects and affects notions of citizenship and social cohesion, a point emphasized in debates about the relative merits of universal and targeted social benefits. More inclusive, redistributive options both depend upon and foster generalized trust. Exclusion may reinforce in-group solidarity, but also fuels social stratication and divisions.

This lecture will first reflect on the substantive and normative consequences of the choice between exclusion and redistribution. Then, drawing on diverse research traditions, it considers factors that are likely to influence this choice, including risk and risk aversion, the existence of marginalized groups (i.e., existing stratication and divisions), and the dynamics of political coalitions.