Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Can Human Rights Save Trees?
    Hospes, Otto - \ 2020
    Economic Diplomacy for the Indonesian palm oil sector
    Hospes, Otto - \ 2019
    Governing food systems
    Hospes, Otto - \ 2019
    Patterns in politics on palm oil
    Hospes, O. - \ 2019
    Nottingham : The Asia dialogue
    The recent controversy between Indonesia and the EU over the revised EU Renewable Energy Directive refers to a pattern in governance interactions over the last ten years between the Indonesian government and other actors over sustainable palm oil. Understanding these governance interactions offers a key to curbing socio-environmental impacts of palm oil production in Indonesia.
    Global sustainability agenda and institutional change. Power relations, historical institurionalism, and discourse analysis in the Indonesian palm oil sector
    Hospes, Otto - \ 2019
    dissertation University of Twente
    Public and Private Governance in Interaction: Changing Interpretations of Sovereignty in the Field of Sustainable Palm Oil
    Schouten, A.M. ; Hospes, O. - \ 2018
    Sustainability 10 (2018)12. - ISSN 2071-1050 - 15 p.
    VSS - public–private interactions - sovereignty - sustainability - palm oil
    Since the 1990s, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and businesses have gained prominence as architects of new forms of transnational governance creating Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS). The legitimacy and effectiveness of VSS are dependent on interactions with public authorities and regulation. While studies suggest that the (perceived) gain or loss of sovereignty by a state shapes public–private interactions, we have little understanding on how states use or interpret sovereignty in their interactions with VSS. In this paper, we explore what interpretations of sovereignty are used by states at different ends of global value chains in interactions with VSS. Based on a comparative and longitudinal study of interactions of Indonesian and Dutch state actors with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, we conclude that states strategically use different and changing notions of sovereignty to control the policy and debate regarding sustainable palm oil.When interactions between public and private governance are coordinative in nature, notions of interdependent sovereignty are used. However, when interactions are competitive, domestic and Westphalian notions of sovereignty are used. Our results show conflicting interpretations and usages of sovereignty by different states, which might negatively impact the regulatory capacity within an issue field to address sustainability issues.
    When the State Brings Itself Back into GVC : The Case of the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge
    Dermawan, Ahmad ; Hospes, Otto - \ 2018
    Global Policy 9 (2018). - ISSN 1758-5880 - p. 21 - 28.

    During the last decades the role of the state in governance of Global Value Chains (GVC) for sustainability has been largely ignored. This paper contributes to the re-centering the state in GVC analysis. We provide an analysis of the rise and fall of the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP). IPOP is a commitment of some biggest palm oil companies towards zero-deforestation in Indonesia, but was dissolved after serious critique from the Government of Indonesia (GoI). Our question is: why and how did the GoI decide to put an end to the IPOP? We show that the GoI orchestrated the IPOP's demise by framing it as a danger to smallholder development, as not acknowledging public standards, and as an illegal cartel. The GoI's counter-framing re-asserts its sovereignty over producers, rule-making and economic organization. We argue that when a state perceives that when non-state-driven GVC governance threatens its sovereignty over producers, rule-making and economic organization, it will engage in discursive power struggle with non-state actors. More specifically, collective action of non-state actors can particularly trigger a state to engage in discursive power struggle with non-state actors.

    Unpacking land acquisition at the oil palm frontier: Obscuring customary rights and local authority in West Kalimantan, Indonesia
    Rietberg, P.I. ; Hospes, O. - \ 2018
    Asia Pacific Viewpoint 59 (2018)3. - ISSN 1360-7456 - p. 338 - 348.
    community response - Indonesia - Kalimantan - land acquisition - local authority - oil palm
    Very few studies have captured the full complexity of land acquisition processes at the Agricultural frontier. Specifically, the different stages in the land acquisition process and the changing responses of local communities to plantation development have not been adequately described and explained. Based on a detailed empirical case study of a land acquisition process in a village at the oil palm frontier in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, we address this knowledge gap. To comprehensively capture reactions ‘from below’ to large-scale land acquisition, we use the interlinked concepts of access, property and authority. We show that the land acquisition process is basically a process of transforming and obscuring customary property rights and local authority. In our case, this process is characterised by an initial recognition of customary rights and local authority by the oil palm company. However, in the course of the process, these property rights and local authority are being transformed and eventually obscured. We call for a more interventionist state to prepare a less uneven playing field at the very beginning of land acquisition processes. This could slow down the nearly irrevocable obfuscation of customary rights and the erosion of local authority at the oil palm frontier.
    Balancing and counterbalancing : the Indonesian state addressing pressures to improve palm oil sector sustainability
    Pramudya, Eusebius Pantja - \ 2018
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): C.J.A.M. Termeer, co-promotor(en): O. Hospes. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463437738 - 146

    The thesis discusses the challenges of the Indonesian state in balancing economic development, social equity and environmental sustainability in addressing and responding to sustainable palm oil issues. The main objective of this research is to unravel the roles of the Indonesian state in balancing environmental sustainability and economic development in response to the different international and domestic demands. The thesis analyses four steering mechanisms of the state: finance, force, external coordination and internal coordination. The empirical cases of each governance mechanism are developed based on multiple case studies.

    The first case study is about the different roles of the Indonesian state in arranging finance schemes for palm oil development. Based on the analysis of major change in the post-colonial history of the Indonesian political economy since 1945 until 2017, the study shows that the Indonesian state has adopted and combined different roles that reflected different political and economic regimes and their changes. Each role was used to promote economic development, albeit in varying ways.

    The second case study is about the upsurge in the use of violence by the state to curb illegal plantations. There are five drivers identified from these disciplinary actions: security problems, pressure from non-state actors, state humiliation, contestation of the state’s legal authority and collective trauma. These drivers associate with the state to maintain its legitimacy. The outcomes of the disciplinary actions were constrained by a lack of policy coherence, challenges from powerful locals, violent resistance, and a lack of awareness of the development economics context of the Indonesian palm oil sector. The state employed repressive actions, which can be considered as an expression of eco-authoritarianism. However, in some cases non-state actors were also involved in planning and organising these actions, which can be seen as an expression of the green state.

    The third case study is about various responses of the Indonesian state to the emergence of non-state initiatives promoting sustainability in the palm oil sector. As the world’s largest palm oil producing country, one would expect that the Indonesian state treats every non-state governance initiative as an interference. This was not the case. By 2015, the Indonesian state had given different responses to non-state initiatives: limited interaction with RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), confrontation with IPOP (Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge), and good collaboration with InPOP (Indonesia Palm Oil Platform). These responses of the state also depend on and differ much per actor constellation, the phases of development of the non-state initiative, and the governmental level involved.

    The fourth case study explores the challenges of the Indonesian state to develop internal coordination for managing forest, land and plantation fire (FLPF). FLPF is a highly strategic and politically sensitive issue for Indonesia, which creates pressure from citizens, business, supranational and subnational NGOs, and neighbouring countries. The forestry and plantation authorities are involved in power bargaining and agency ideology competition. Generally speaking, the Indonesian state is struggling with financing an integrated action to manage FLPF. The presence of a national leadership willing to act decisively to develop internal coordination contributed significantly to the decrease of FLPF in 2016 and 2017.

    Based on the findings of the four case studies, the conclusion is that the Indonesian state has been persistently supporting the palm oil sector, changing and adapting its roles under various political-economic regimes. A constant concern, though, has been the promotion of the palm oil sector for economic development. In the present situation of Indonesia, the state has been facing a two-fold challenge: modernising its economic development focus by addressing both social equity and environmental sustainability concerns, and managing the transition from an authoritarian regime to a democratic regime. Such a transition in political orientation demands the state be more sensitive to concerns of non-state actors. The state tries a new balance between an authoritarian and top-down approach with a participatory and bottom-up approach in governing the palm oil sector.

    Sustainability pathways in oil palm cultivation: a comparison of Indonesia, Colombia and Cameroon
    Dermawan, A. ; Hospes, O. - \ 2018
    In: Achieving sustainable cultivation of oil palm / Rival, A., Cambridge : Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Limited (Burleigh Dodds series in agricultural science ) - ISBN 9781786761040 - p. 33 - 48.
    Oil palm development is a major subject in controversies over sustainable agriculture. Economic benefits are very high due to the crop characteristics and its impact on smallholder development and economic growth. Producer countries have targeted oil palm expansion to meet national and global demands for food and energy. However, oil palm development also has considerable environmental costs in the form of deforestation, loss of biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions. In this article, the concept of sustainable pathways is used to describe how sustainability issues are being addressed in three different countries: Indonesia, Colombia and Cameroon.
    Identifying barriers and levers of biodiversity mainstreaming in four cases of transnational governance of land and water
    Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, S.I.S.E. ; Boelee, E. ; Cools, J. ; Hoof, L.J.W. van; Hospes, O. ; Kok, M. ; Peerlings, J.H.M. ; Tatenhove, J.P.M. van; Termeer, C.J.A.M. ; Visseren-Hamakers, I.J. - \ 2018
    Environmental Science & Policy 85 (2018). - ISSN 1462-9011 - p. 132 - 140.
    Biodiversity - Mainstreaming - Integration - Values-based leadership - Governance - Certification - Economic sectors - Fisheries - Palm Oil - FDI - Land - Mangroves
    Mainstreaming biodiversity into the governance of economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries is required to reverse biodiversity loss and achieve globally adopted conservation targets. Governments have recognized
    this but little progress has been made. This paper addresses the following research question: What are the barriers and levers for mainstreaming biodiversity into economic sectors that exert high pressure on biodiversity?
    This question is approached through applying an analytical framework developed from literature on mainstreaming and Environmental Policy Integration as well as governance theory and practice to four cases in
    agriculture, agro-forestry and fisheries covering multi-level and transnational governance contexts. Decisionmaking and governance in these cases look quite different compared to the kind of public policy machinery of governmental bureaucracies that much EPI literature has focused on. Our analysis demonstrates mainstreaming efforts in some of our cases at the degree of harmonization and even coordination among key actors. It further identifies a number of ‘additional’ barriers and levers that from an Environmental Policy Integration perspective would be considered as external factors out of reach for mainstreaming efforts. The results are pertinent for the evaluation of EPI performance because the governance perspective expands the borders of who can initiate, enable and sustain mainstreaming, what scope of regulatory norms they can use and the potentially useful resources for the process.
    The disciplining of illegal palm oil plantations in Sumatra
    Pramudya, Eusebius Pantja ; Hospes, Otto ; Termeer, C.J.A.M. - \ 2018
    Third World Quarterly 39 (2018)5. - ISSN 0143-6597 - p. 920 - 940.
    authoritarian environmentalism - Indonesia - Law enforcement - palm oil expansion
    The Indonesian state has issued many regulations to control palm oil expansion, but they have been weakly enforced, resulting in widespread illegal plantations. During the last decade, Indonesian authorities have used force to reduce illegal plantations. This article analyses the drivers behind these actions and questions to what extent they reflect the rise of eco-authoritarianism. By investigating six cases of disciplinary action in Sumatra, we conclude that the Indonesian state is neither practising eco-authoritarianism nor constituting a green state. The disciplinary action, however, has had limited success in environmental terms due to policy incoherence, violent contestation and the sector’s historical context.
    Zero deforestation and low emissions development : Public and private institutional arrangements under jurisdictional approaches
    Pacheco, Pablo ; Hospes, O. ; Dermawan, A. - \ 2017
    Wageningen : Wageningen University & Research - 8 p.
    Debates on the challenges and opportunities for sustainable agricultural production and natural resources management - mainly of land, water, and forests - have intensified in recent years. This is due not only to a more prominent climate change agenda, aimed at mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to limit global warming to less than 1.5oC [1]; it is also due to the recent Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda [2]. The role that forests play in climate change mitigation is at the heart of climate change
    and sustainability debates; as such, reducing the pressure that ‘forest-risk’ commodity crops (e.g. palm oil, cocoa, soy, beef, timber) place on forests is key [3]. Forest conversion contributes to soil erosion, reduces water quality and supply, leads to biodiversity loss and increases carbon emissions [3]. An issue of increasing concern is how to support the meaningful integration of smallholders in these commodity supply chains, as well as improve their capacity to capture greater market benefits.
    Trends and challenges for developing next generation of business and finance schemes for smallholders
    Dermawan, A. ; Pramudya, E.P. ; Hospes, O. ; Pacheco, Pablo - \ 2017
    Wageningen : Wageningen University and Research - 4 p.
    The agriculture sector in Indonesia is experiencing a major transition. While the Indonesian population increased from 206 to 237 million people in the period from 2000 to 2010, the number of smallholders decreased from 31 million in 2003 to 26 million in 2013 (BPS 2014). One important trend that may affect agricultural sector development is the increasing share of older people who are smallholders. The 2013 agricultural census shows that about 12% of smallholders in Indonesia are aged above 65 years, and 60% of the smallholders are above 45 years old (BPS 2014). There are indications that older people will remain in the agricultural sector, as younger people tend to move out to other sectors. Smallholders are aging, and younger people are not interested in farming. The challenge for the Government of Indonesia is to formulate policy options to encourage the next generation of smallholders to stay
    in the agriculture sector (Ngadi 2014). There are some notable exceptions. For example, in the oil palm sector, the profitability of the crops has attracted new smallholders to cultivate the crop, either by opening new land or converting existing crops into oil palm (Feintrenie et al. 2010). Crops with strong export orientation, such as coffee and cocoa, may follow similar trends.
    A paradigm shift in sustainability governance? The emergence of sustainable landscape initiatives
    Ingram, V.J. ; Hospes, Otto - \ 2017
    Seed for change : the making and implementation of seed policies in Ethiopia
    Hassena Beko, Mohammed - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): B.M.J. van der Meulen, co-promotor(en): B. de Jonge; O. Hospes; N.P. Louwaars. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463436687 - 151
    governance - agricultural policy - policy processes - agricultural sector - seed production - government policy - ethiopia - east africa - governance - landbouwbeleid - beleidsprocessen - landbouwsector - zaadproductie - overheidsbeleid - ethiopië - oost-afrika

    Ethiopia is an agrarian country where agriculture dominates the economy, and thus agriculture is considered as an engine of growth by the government. Seed as one of the agricultural technologies, in fact, a carrier of many technologies, is critical to increasing production, but the use of quality seed from formal sources in Ethiopia is very limited. The current Ethiopian government has focused on agricultural development and has developed different policies both for agriculture in general and for the seed sector in particular. Following the developmental state approach, the government intensified its involvement in the seed sector to enhance agricultural development. Despite the policies and efforts of the government, a shortage of seed, a mismatch between demand and supply, the carryover of seed despite not satisfying the demand of farmers, and poor seed quality have been persistent challenges to the Ethiopian seed sector. Many studies have identified technical gaps that limit the development of the seed sector, and some of the studies have also discussed the extent to which policy responds to existing problems, and the extent to which what is in the policy documents is implemented. However, the causes of these ‘gaps’ are seldom discussed. The lack of such knowledge limits the understanding of the challenges, making it difficult to properly support the seed sector. For these reasons, this research has gone beyond the mere identification of ‘gaps’, aiming to analyse how actors and institutions influence seed policy making and implementation in Ethiopia.

    The goal of this research is twofold: to narrow the knowledge gap about policy making and implementation in the Ethiopian seed sector, and to contribute to the debate concerning how to make the seed sector function better. The central research question is: how did actors and institutions influence the formulation and implementation of seed policies in Ethiopia from 2008 to 2016? The empirical research to answer this overall research question addresses two processes: policy making and policy implementation. These include the process of revising the 2000 Ethiopian seed law and the process of implementing direct seed marketing. By analysing these two processes, the thesis unravels how actors and associated institutions have influenced seed policy making and implementation in Ethiopia. The major sources of data were interviews of actors in the seed sector, and desk research of different reports. Guided by theoretical concepts, the research used qualitative methods to generate and analyse data.

    Given the complexity of societal phenomenon, several analytical lenses have been used to examine the data in this research. In order to explain how actors negotiate the content of a policy document, including defining the problem and solution, the concept of discourse analysis is used, focusing on frame, the rounds model, and the policy arena. Similarly, to explain the process of implementing the existing policy and the outcome, the concepts of multi-level perspective on transition, transition management, non-decision making, and institutional lock-in are used. While using these analytical lenses to explain seed policy making and implementation, the concept of institutions has remained a central concept.

    Chapter 2 analyses the negotiation process, looking into the topics of seed sector governance and variety registration. The analysis reveals that different policy arenas provide opportunities for different actors to place their preferred policy options on the table, and to get them incorporated into the draft working document. While this is a positive step towards a deliberative policy making, the final decision is made by the executive branch of the government. Such a process can be explained by two informal institutions. These are the loose connection between the drafting arenas and the decision-making arenas, and the blurred separation of power between the executive and the legislature. At the Council of Ministers (CoM), where the critical decisions are made, the ministry presents its perspective, particularly on issues where disagreement exists between the ministry and other actors. The council uses the content of the draft and the justification of the ministry for endorsing the draft policy document. Moreover, the parliament can change the content of the draft policy document only if the ministry agrees with the change, regardless of the arguments and justifications provided by other stakeholders. Thus, the inputs of stakeholders are considered as long as the ministry agrees with the suggestions, and the policy decision remains in the hands of the ministry.

    Chapter 3 presents the different frames used by different actors to describe the problem of seed quality. While government officials attribute the problem of seed quality to the lack of alignment between the seed sector governance and the regional government structure, experts and bureaucrats attribute the problem to the lack of coordination at national level. As a result, they respectively suggest the decentralization and centralization of seed sector governance. These frames are embedded in the overall interest and strategy of the actors promoting the frames. The centralization frame reflects the interest of experts and bureaucrats to have a say with regards to the seed sector. They have lost this power because of the federal structure that was established formally in 1995. On the contrary, the decentralization frame is embedded in the government’s aim to implement the constitution that established the federal structure in 1995. Despite the fact that the process of revising the seed law took about four years, these actors could not agree on either of the options or find an alternative. This shows a lack of deliberation and reflexivity during the process of revising the seed law, reflecting the fact that seed policy discussion has been part of a larger debate about (de)centralization in Ethiopia since 1991. Thus, in addition to the issue of seed quality, the frames of centralization and decentralization are shaped by the old (unitary) and the new (federal) institutions of the Ethiopian government system.

    Chapter 4 focuses on the process of introducing and expanding direct seed marketing (DSM) in Ethiopia. Despite the fact that seed marketing is included in the policies on paper, the seed of major food crops is distributed through government channels resulting in inefficiency of seed distribution. The regional seed core groups introduced DSM in 2011, and by 2016 about one-third of the hybrid maize seed, the main seed marketed in Ethiopia, in Amhara, Oromia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ region (SNNPR), was sold through DSM. The presence of actors outside the seed distribution system was instrumental for introducing the concept of DSM. To start the piloting of this existing policy, the core group needed to get approval from the heads of the bureaus of agriculture (BoAs). However, such approval was not required for other new ideas, like establishing an independent regulatory body, showing how the informal institutions guide what has to be approved by bureau heads, regardless of the formal policy. In addition to the demonstrated potential of DSM to overcome the problem of seed distribution inefficiency, strategic management of the stakeholders' process was critical in expanding the area under the pilot. Many actors, including the executives, supported the expansion of DSM to many areas.

    Despite the expansion of DSM, its demonstrated potential to overcome the problem of seed supply inefficiency, the support it received from the government officials, and the general policy of market-based approach, the government has not endorsed the use of DSM beyond the pilot. Chapter 5 points out that the government excluded the issue of seed marketing from the seed regulation enacted in 2016, showing that the government has no intention to make seed marketing one of the seed delivery channels in the near future. The major reasons for this are: bureaucrats do not want to contribute to the decision making of DSM because they assume that the government has a strong political interest to remain in seed distribution; bureaucrats need the seed distribution system to achieve the targets set by the government; there is a symbiotic relationship between actors, the extension service as well as seed producers, and the seed distribution system, and so actors want to maintain the distribution system Such institutionalized thinking and practices have created an institutional lock-in that prevents bureaucrats from presenting the recommendation to government officials, thereby leading to non-decision about the future of DSM.

    Chapter 6 summarizes the action of actors in affecting policy making and implementation as influenced by two conflicting sets of institutions. The first set relates to market-based thinking versus centralized planning as leading principles for economic development. Both are used as a discourse for promoting economic development and its operationalization, which are shaping how actors view and overcome the problems of the seed sector. This also explains why policies on paper are not implemented and why new initiatives are not formally endorsed. The tension between these divergent institutions has increased because of the dual use of seed by the government: the government has used the seed to both promote economic development and maintain strong political ties with farmers. The second set of conflicting institutions relates to authoritarian versus participatory decision making. On the one hand, is the government practice of authoritative decision-making, where only the input of stakeholders is considered when it fits in with the existing policy direction of the executives. On the other hand, it is common practice to organize stakeholders to contribute to policy making and implementation. The practice of considering the policy input of others only when it fits in with the policy direction of the decision-makers, creates a sense of being forced to accept, increasing the tension between how the government decides and the role of stakeholders.

    Given the tension between the conflicting institutions, and circumstances in Ethiopia, this research suggested that choosing one approach over the other will not guarantee the development of the seed sector. There is no guarantee that the outcome of a deliberative policy making process will be a different policy option than the one opted for by one of the actors. However, the co-development of a solution for the shared seed sector problem will guarantee better ownership and thus better implementation than an imposed policy. It is also important to note that deliberative policy making and implementation is not an easy task given the current stakeholders’ landscape and the culture of authoritative decision making. Thus, the change towards deliberative policy making and implementation is not something that emerges overnight: it is a process that matures over time. This calls for the strategic management of a process of change that leads to the transformation of the seed sector into a self-reliant and resilient sector. By identifying the underlying institutions behind the challenges of the seed sector and suggesting options for improvement, this thesis contributes to the debate on how to make the seed sector function better. At a higher level, it also contributes to the debate on policy making and implementation processes in Ethiopia.

    The (Re-)Positioning of the Indonesian and Malaysian State in Sustainable Palm Oil Governance
    Hospes, Otto - \ 2017
    When CSR meets plural legal order: can palm oil companies do better than public authorities by committing to zero-deforestation in Indonesia?
    Hospes, Otto - \ 2017
    New generation of knowledge: Towards an inter- and transdisciplinary framework for sustainable pathways of palm oil production
    Hospes, O. ; Kroeze, C. ; Oosterveer, P.J.M. ; Schouten, A.M. ; Slingerland, M.A. - \ 2017
    NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 80 (2017). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 75 - 84.
    palm oil sector - sustainability - interdisciplinary framework - transdisciplinary approach - sustainable pathways
    The production and expansion of palm oil have emerged as a major and controversial issue in political and public debates in the North and the South on sustainable food and agriculture. Scientific research has played a marginal role in these debates that are characterized by black and white views on palm oil as a good, bad or even ugly crop, and by solutions that are limited in scope. Our first argument is that new conceptualization of the complexity and dynamics of the palm oil sector can revitalize debate on sustainable palm oil and be used to identify sustainable pathways for palm oil production. For this purpose, we develop an interdisciplinary framework, conceptualizing the palm oil sector as consisting of systems, flows and networks. Our second argument is that a transdisciplinary approach is need to identify and develop sustainable pathways. We present six ideas on how to do so. Given the controversy in debates on the production and expansion of palm oil, we consider switchers as critical actors for shaping sustainable pathways, both in the palm oil sector and at the science-policy interface.
    Governing the palm oil sector through finance : the changing roles of the Indonesian state
    Pramudya, E.P. ; Hospes, O. ; Termeer, C.J.A.M. - \ 2017
    Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies 53 (2017)1. - ISSN 0007-4918 - p. 57 - 82.
    By analysing the roles performed by the Indonesian state since 1945 in arranging finance schemes for palm oil development, this article aims to answer two questions: what were these different roles? And to what extent do these roles prioritise or balance economic growth, environmental protection and/or social equity? We conclude that the Indonesian state has never been absent but has performed different and changing finance roles that are historically contingent and shaped by the evolving economic and political landscape. Furthermore, these different and changing roles reflect Indonesia’s unchanging priorities of achieving economic growth by developing palm oil, paying some attention to social equity and—but only recently—to environmental sustainability.
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