Working Paper

To Bribe or Not to Bribe: Incentives to Protect Tanzania’s Forests

Sep 21, 2009 | Elizabeth J.Z. Robinson, Razack B Lokina

This was created in partnership with Environment for Development .


Where participatory forest management has been introduced into Tanzania, “volunteer” patrollers take responsibility for enforcing access restrictions, often receiving a share of the fine revenue that they collect as an incentive. We explored how this shared revenue and alternative sources of forest products for villagers determine the effort patrollers put into enforcement and whether they choose to take a bribe from illegal harvesters rather than honestly reporting the illegal activity. Using an optimal enforcement model, we show that, without transparency or funds to pay and monitor the volunteers undertaking enforcement, policymakers face tradeoffs between efficiency, enforcement effectiveness, and revenue collection.