The process of deforestation in weak democracies and the role of Intelligence

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Abstract

This article examines the interconnection between national intelligence, political institutions, and the mismanagement of public resources (deforestations). The paper examines the reasons for deforestation and investigates the factors accountable for it. The analysis builds on authors-compiled cross-national dataset on 185 countries over the time period of twenty years, from 1990 to 2010. We find that, first, nation’s intelligence reduces significantly the level of deforestation in a state. Moreover, the nations’ IQ seems to play an offsetting role in the natural resource conservation (forest management) in the countries with weak democratic institutions. The analysis also discovered the presence of the U-shaped relationship between democracy and deforestation. Intelligence sheds more light on this interconnection and explains the results. Our results are robust to various sample selection strategies and model specifications. The main implication from our study is that intelligence not only shapes formal rules and informal regulations such as social trust, norms and traditions but also it has the ability to reverse the paradoxical process known as “resource curse.” The study contributes to better understanding of reasons of deforestation and shed light on the debated impact of political regime on forest management.

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