Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Ariel BenYishay

Committee Members

Ranjan Shrestha

Ammar Malik


Roads’ effects on environmental income sources and on the livelihoods of indigenous peoples as minority groups are two intertwined topics that have been largely ignored in the wider literature of transport infrastructure and development economics. With an understanding of indigenous populations’ higher vulnerability to environmental degradation, this paper seeks to rectify this gap in the literature, using the case study of Chinese-funded road projects in Cambodia to study their impacts with particular focus on indigenous groups and income from forest-products. Over the past two decades, China has funded 31 road projects spanning 3,127 km. In a preliminary proximity analysis conducted for this project, I find these roads encroach on the historical lands of eight Cambodian indigenous populations. I perform difference-in-difference regressions on employment and forestry-product income as dependent variables to evaluate the overall impacts of the road treatment on these outcomes as well as within indigenous and rural communities specifically, during the time frame of 1999-2016. My results are largely correlational, supporting prior findings of indigenous populations’ reliance on forests to support their livelihoods. Employment in forestry occupations and the value of collected forest products sold by households were significantly higher within indigenous areas. Possible negative impacts in forestry employment and product collection value in indigenous areas were present in the results but insignificant. Significant impacts were only found in relation to forest product collection in urban areas. Household value from these products, concentrated especially in consumed wood products, significantly decreased in non-rural villages due to the presence of roads within 7 km of villages, implying there may be shifts away from personal household-level collection of forest-products in urban areas caused by access to China’s road projects.

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