Costa Rica is a country well known for its relatively advanced forest policy, but also for the rampant
deforestation that – during the past decades – has been a major source of national and international
concern. This research addresses the issue of why Costa Rica, despite its innovative policy approaches
to forest use, still shows only partial achievement of its formal policy goals (forest protection, sustainable
logging and reforestation) among private landowners.
The theory of the New Institutional Economics is the bedrock on which the analysis is performed and
conclusions are drawn. Thus, institutional emergence, path dependence, bargaining power and the relationship
between formal and informal institutions are some of the subjects considered. Recent institutional
changes in the Costa Rican forest sector are closely analyzed. The interests of the Costa Rican government
and private actors are pondered to understand the direction and form that such institutional changes
have taken. The research also goes over the existing social networks between private landowners, logging
entrepreneurs and private (but publicly accredited) forest engineers. By accounting for the motivations
of these private actors, it is possible to better understand how such social networks structure private
economic behavior around the use of forest resources, and hence how they contribute – or not – to the
achievement of formal forest policy ends.
Band 3 ifp