Government management of coastal lands in Sri Lanka: An anticommons problem?

Pulasinghage, Chatura
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University of Guelph

Nearly 80% of the land in Sri Lanka is owned by the state (Herath et al. 1995). This research examine whether the number of government permitting agencies influence the likelihood that ecological restoration projects would occur on state-owned land after the 2004 Tsunami. The theoretical basis for this study is the anticommons problem articulated by Heller (1998) and formalized by Buchanan and Yoon (2000). Unlike the tragedy of the commons where wastage occurs from overuse, an anticommons problem is the result of underuse. A survey was designed to characterize the state-owned management of the coastal lands, collect details about the projects and the process of getting permission to use the coastal lands. The econometric results of the probit model were consistent with this hypothesis: i.e., as the number of government agencies involved in the permit process increased, the probability of a project getting permission from all the government agencies declined.

Sri Lanka, coastal lands, government management, ecological restoration projects, anticommons