Small Producer Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon: Integrating Household Structure and Economic Circumstance in Behavioral Explanation

CID Faculty Working Paper No. 96

Marcellus Caldas, Robert Walker, and Stephen Perz
October 2002


This study examines the impact household structure and economic circumstances on deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. It presents the results of an analysis conducted at property level, using both survey data and information derived from remote sensing. Regression analyses and spatial autocorrelation tests are given, following a theoretical development integrating notions of the household economy with von Thünen. The results from the empirical model indicate that social and demographic characteristics of households, as well as institutional and market factors, affect land use decisions. Thus, aggregate studies and spatially explicit models that do not include household information may be subject to specification bias.

Keywords: Brazilian Amazon, deforestation, remote sensing, behavioral modeling

JEL subject codes: C21, C31, D1, Q12, Q24