Property regimes, technology, and environmental degradation in Cuban agriculture
This dissertation analyzes the environmental impact of state policies in Cuban agriculture, and compares state farms, family farms, and cooperative farms, with respect to their management of natural resources. Organizational forms of agricultural production are distinguished by the property rights and production technologies used by farming units. I examine the premise that family farmers have adequate incentives to engage in resource conservation measures. Conversely, I examine the premise that state property rights do not structure adequate incentives for resource conservation in state farms. Finally, I compare private farms and state farms with cooperatives, in terms of their resource management in practices.
Because of the important role of central planning in natural-resource management under socialism, the dissertation also analyzes environmental policies and the evolution of the system of environmental protection in Cuba. I argue that while state ownership of natural resources and planning create the opportunity to incorporate environmental concerns into economic decision-making, environmental concerns are secondary to production goals. Moreover, the public does not have sufficient information, nor the mechanisms, for choosing higher levels of environmental quality. At the same time, enterprise managers do not have sufficient incentives to voluntarily comply with environmental regulations, and the environmental agency lacks the power to enforce them.
0503: Agricultural economics
0615: Political science