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The nature of corruption in forest management

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Corruption is a well-documented and common feature of natural resource management in the developing world. This article investigates the nature of corruption and whether or not there is such a thing as a ‘tolerable’ level of corruption, particularly where there is an established culture of patronage. Using the log trade in Indonesia as a study in rent-seeking transactions, this article shows that a failure to account for the incentives underlying rent-seeking undermines forest policy. Also, attempts to eliminate corruption are doomed to failure. Instead, policymakers should seek to understand the nature of corruption in seeking to move from rent creation to wealth creation.

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