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Impact of gender & risk preference on forest management decisions of rural households in China

Impact of gender and risk preference on forest management decisions of rural households in China: Evidence from giant panda nature reserves

Zhang, Y., Hogarth, N.J., and Duan, W. (2021)
Journal of Forest Economics: Vol. 36: No. 1-2, pp 141-160. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/112.00000529

Abstract: Households in giant panda nature reserves rely heavily on natural resources, and the balance between nature conservation and economic development is crucial. Along with the increase of off-farm working opportunities and rural development, the labor structure of forest management activities has been changing and women have started to play determinant roles in households. Thus, it is of interest to explore gender differences in the forest management decisions of rural households and to further analyze the role of risk preference in decision-making. Through an investigation of giant panda nature reserves in Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces, this research analyzed a 411-household sample using the ordinary least squares (OLS) and Tobit models. The evidence showed that generally households with a female forestry decision maker invested significantly less in forest activities than those with a male decision maker, and the forest investment intensity decreased as the degree of risk-aversion of decision maker increased. Moreover, at each risk preference level, females input less on forest management compared to their male counterparts. The paper provided some solid evidence for the behavioral differences between male and female in the context of forest management. Overall, the results highlighted the importance of intrinsic characteristics in forest management decision-making, while the extrinsic factors of forest size, forestland quality as well as household income and household location also significantly affected the level of forest management inputs. To conclude, this paper suggests policy makers to aware the intrinsic difference among forest decision makers, and to distinguish corresponding trainings and supportive services on forest management technologies to acknowledge the gender difference on risk preference.

This paper is an output of the VITRI project: The impact of habitat regulatory policies on ecological protections and rural livelihoods: The case of giant panda protected areas in China https://blogs.helsinki.fi/vitriblog/research-projects/projects/giant-panda-habitat-conservation-and-livelihood/