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Title: Changing land governance in quadruple transition : cases from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo
Author: Parramore, Sean
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 8456
Awarding Body: Queen Mary University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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Why and how do societies change institutions governing access to land after experiencing collectivism and conflict, and what form of economic governance emerges as a result? This empirically-focussed thesis examines changes in land governance in two successor states of Yugoslavia transitioning from inter-ethnic war to fragile peace, and from a command- to a more market-driven economy: Bosnia and Kosovo. The subject of analysis is explaining what drives processes of land governance change; how these occur; who engages in them; and the form of economic governance that appears to emerge. The thesis contributes to knowledge on international state-building in contexts where after conflict and collectivism, liberal state-builders are positioned to influence land governance alongside informal networks and domestic governing elites. Using process tracing and extensive field work data from semi-structured elite interviews and primary documentation, it investigates and compares six case studies of institutional change in land registration, use and alienation governance. It applies Ostrom's rational choice institutionalist analytical framework to identify the situational rules that created status quos of unregulated land access and enduring opportunities for rent-seeking in post-conflict Bosnia and Kosovo, as well as commonalities and differences between the cases. The framework suits taking a long-term perspective on change, from the end of conflict to 2015, and helps consider how structural influences, like Yugoslav and post-conflict legacies and liberal state-building agendas, may have (re)shaped enduring problems of unregulated land access. Finally, it permits using three different theories to explain why, how and with what outcome domestic and external actors change such status quos in land governance. All case study findings show that in quadruple transition contexts, land governance change processes emerge when domestic leaders learn and recognize the economic problems of unregulated land access. In particular, the lack of reliable information about land rights was seen to scare (foreign) real estate investors. This recognition was helped along by liberal state-builders that pressured for land governance change in both countries. However, in Bosnia,their pressure was short-term, and persistent only in land registration reform. Institutionalizing this liberalizing reform proved sufficient to attract foreign investors. Yet to access other land rents, like building permits, personal and political connections remained crucial for land investment. Having clearer land records thus appeared to consolidate rather than undermine more impersonal forms of economic governance. By contrast, Kosovo's land registration, use and alienation governance changed in far-reaching ways. Yet institutional changes often failed to resolve uncertainty about land rights. As such situations endured, elites recognized that Kosovo's economic problems grew. This motivated continued external, national and local-level support for land governance change. The concluding analysis gives reason to explain Bosnian land governance change as Limited Access Order Consolidation, while Kosovo's as Problem- Driven Iterative Adaptation. That suggests, on the one hand, that Bosnian and Kosovar elites tend to change situational rules in land governance differently: the former by only aligning them with narrow elite interests to consolidate their control over rent-seeking opportunities; the latter with a more inclusive, trial and error processes that have more fragile, open-ended outcomes. The difference seems to arise from Kosovo's economic predicament in land governance: it more strongly incentivizes local and national-level elites to cooperate and institutionalize changes that makes accessing land rents both easier and more impersonal. Yet on the other hand, the analysis shows commonality. The possibility of increasing land rents more powerfully explains land governance change than the introduction of a new external agenda, best practice or standard (Solution and Leadership Driven Change). I.e. observed over a longer period, it appears that post-conflict societies have strong endogenous reasons to rise above situations of unregulated resource access, and to collaborate and overcome collective action problems. Liberal state builders still have a potential role to play. They may help liberalize land governance to some extent, yet only so long as they commit with long-term support and a readiness to adapt to the interests of local governing elites. The thesis therefore underscores earlier findings that contest that liberal state-building agendas, including European integration, are principal drivers of institutional change in quadruple transition contexts. Simultaneously, it challenges findings that overemphasize the domestic constraints on (externallysupported) attempts at liberalizing economic governance. The thesis thus adds to debates between new institutionalists highlighting domestic 'deep structures' and those stressing external incentives and agency.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Hendrik Muller Vaderlandsch Fonds
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Politics and International Relations ; Kosovo ; Bosnia-Herzegovina ; land governance change