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Michael M. Cernea

Michael M. Cernea (1934-) is a Romanian social scientist who introduced sociological and anthropological approaches into the World Bank. He worked as the World Banks Senior Adviser for Sociology and Social Policy until 1997. He has published on a wide range of aspects of development including: social change, social forestry, participation, grassroots organizations, and perhaps most notably, population resettlement.

Freidenbreg reports Cernea as arguing, in a nice turn of phrase, that "Development Anthropology is a Contact Sport".

Professor Michael M. Cernea joined the World Bank in 1974 as its first in-house sociologist and worked as the Bank's Senior Adviser for Sociology and Social Policy until 1997. He has carried out social research, policy work, and development project work in many countries throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.

Michael Cernea has a Ph.D. in sociology and social philosophy, has taught and lectured in universities in Europe and the United States, has been a visiting scholar at Harvard and other universities, and was appointed Honorary Professor for Resettlement and Social Studies at Hohai University in Nanjing, China.

Michael M Cernea

Figure: Prof. Michael M Cernea

In 1991 he was elected to the Academy of Sciences, Romania. He is the recipient of the Solon T. Kimball Award for Public Policy and Applied Anthropology, granted by the American Anthropological Association, and of the Bronislow Malinowski Prize given by the Society for Applied Anthropology 'in recognition of scholarly efforts to understand and serve the needs of the world through social science'.

He has written and edited numerous books and studies on development, social change, population resettlement, social forestry, grassroots organizations, and participation including Putting People First: Sociological Variables in Development (1985, 1991), Anthropological Approaches to Resettlement: Policy, Practice, Theory (edited with Scott Guggenheim, 1993), Social Organization and Development Anthropology (1996), Social Assessment for Better Development (edited with Ayse Kudat, 1997) Resettlement and Development (vol. I and II, published in China, 1996-1998) and The Economics of Involuntary Resettlement: Questions and Challenges (1999).


  • Cernea, Michael M. 1986. Involuntary Resettlement in Bank-Assisted Projects: A Review of the Application of Bank Policies and Procedures in FY 1979-1985 Projects, AGR Department, Washington, D.C.: World Bank.The study reports on the first research carried out inside the World Bank after it adopted its involuntary resettlement policy (OMS 2.33 of 1980) on experience and performance in applying it. That research found both consistency and inconsistencies vis-à-vis the Bank’s resettlement policy with respect to the design, appraisal and supervision of resettlement operations in 1979-1985 projects. Identified weaknesses are described. The study formulates recommendations for strengthening the content of the Bank’s involuntary resettlement policy and re-tailoring project-processing procedures. The study’s recommendations were discussed and adopted by the Bank’s Operational Policy Committee and soon thereafter they became the substance of the Bank’s new Operations Policy Note 10.06 [October 1986], thus strengthening the provisions of the Bank’s initial 1980 resettlement policy.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1988a. Involuntary Resettlement in Development Projects. Policy Guidelines in World Bank Financed Projects. World Bank Technical Paper No. 80. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. [Published also in a French edition and in a Spanish edition}. For the first time, this paper presents publicly the previously internal policy documents of the World Bank on resettlement (OMS 2.33 of 1980 and the Operational Policy Note 10.06 of 1986). The two separate policy documents are rendered in a logically integrated manner, accompanied by the author’s analysis explaining them. The purpose of this paper was to openly present the World Bank’s policy principles for resettlements entailed under projects it finances and explain why and how resettlement action plans (RAPs) should be prepared and included in projects. The RAPs should meet the objectives of restoring people's lost living standards and support income improvement. Three detailed annexes to the main paper offer guidance to Bank staff and to implementing agencies on new issues central to the policy application: economic analysis, baseline surveys, and resettlement monitoring. The annexes explain how to develop resettlement monitoring systems; how to evaluate compensation amounts and the costs of developing new production systems; and how to do the baseline survey work needed to prepare acceptable resettlement programs.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1988b. "Development Anthropology at Work." Anthropology Newsletter, 29:6:1-5. The article informs outside social researchers about anthropological work carried out inside the Bank on a wide range of operational, social, and cultural issues.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1989a. "Metropolitan Development and Compulsory Population Relocation, Policy Issues and Project Experiences" Regional Development Dialogue, 10:4:88-106. (Reprinted: World Bank Reprint Series #452; see also Discussion Paper # 152, 1993.). Urban displacements, caused by projects financing urban infrastructure and urban renewal, are in many respects different from rural displacements and resettlement, yet are less studied in the resettlement literature. Starting from this realization, the author highlights the distinct characteristics of urban compulsory resettlement, discusses several specific cases, and identifies issues that invite broad further research efforts. (see further entry: Cernea, M. 1993b)
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1989b. "Anthropology, Policy and Involuntary Resettlement." BASAPP (British Association for Social Anthropology in Policy and Practice) Newsletter, 4, Nov. One of the most substantive contributions that social anthropology and sociology are currently making to development practice and theory is applied research on involuntary population resettlement. This article describes the emergence and content of the World Bank's policy regarding processes of forced population displacement caused by development programs, and explores the growing roles of professional social science research in improving resettlement planning and implementation. The new roles go beyond the traditional roles of providing data to policy makers, after the fact research, or acting as an advocate or interpreter. The author sees anthropologists working in the area of resettlement formulating policy, designing plans, and taking on the responsibilities of managers and decision makers. These roles become possible when the technical skills of the professional anthropologist are recognized as valid qualification for exercising leadership in resettlement planning. The author provides “solid reasons” for this argument that the pattern of progress in the field of resettlement anthropology‑‑from research to policy and from policy to applied work‑‑could be replicated and expanded in other areas of development anthropology.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1990a. From Unused Social Knowledge to Policy Creation: The Case of Population Resettlement. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Institute for International Development, 1990. The translation of scholarly research and of accumulated bodies of knowledge into development policies and action-strategies is not a linear, simple exercise. The author argues that it confronts difficult methodological, operationalization, and re-conceptualization demands. In this light, the author analyzes the emergence and content of the World Bank’s policy on development-induced displacements and the modification of discourse about resettlement inside the Bank and its public statements. The paper suggests a taxonomy of population dislocations based on their different causes and content-characteristics. These bear upon the nature of responses required for different types of displacements. Involuntary resettlement has been, and often still is, treated as a salvage and welfare operation, rather than one pursuing development objectives. In contrast with such approaches, the paper emphasizes that the grounding of the Bank's resettlement policy in social science findings has led to a substantive change. Because involuntary resettlement dismantles a previous production system and way of life, all involuntary resettlement programs must be development programs as well. The backbone of any resettlement plan must be a development 'package' aimed at reconstructing the production base of those relocated and at reestablishing them as self‑sustaining producers. The author argues that knowledge generated by social science research on resettlement is relevant for addressing the social and economic problems involved in each phase of such processes, but that this knowledge needs to be expanded and deepened. He defines key components of resettlement plans and alternative strategies related to resettlers' production base, compensation, habitat and social organization, environmental implications and environmental management. He concludes by discussing sociologically informed operational procedures for resettlement, particularly the need for social science skills throughout the project process and for social monitoring.
  • Cernea, Michael M 1990b. "Involuntary Resettlement and Development." Finance and Development, 25.3: 44‑46. (Also published in H. M. Mathur, ed., The Human Dimension of Development: Perspectives from Anthropology. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company). This article provides an overview of the evolution of World Bank policy and operational guidelines in regard to involuntary resettlement. During the 1960s and 1970s the handling of involuntary resettlement in development projects was often flawed by a lack of social planning and insufficient financial and technical resources. Early in 1980, the Bank adopted new policy and guidelines based on lessons learned from previous relocations and sociological and anthropological research. In 1986, after assessing the first six years under its new policy, the Bank issued additional guidelines to deal more comprehensively with involuntary resettlement. The author describes a variety of potential pitfalls, usually occurring in the early stages of the project cycle, that produce negative results. To avoid these and to ensure consistency between Bank policy and project design and implementation, the Bank's appraisal methods and internal review specifically for projects with resettlement components have been tightened considerably. New and more creative approaches to resettlement are being introduced, with more careful preparation, specialized sociological analysis and supervision, and increased financing through Bank and local funds.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1990c. "Internal Refugee Flows and Development‑Induced Population Displacement." Journal of Refugee Studies, 3:4:320‑339. (Reprinted as World Bank Reprint Series No. 462. Washington, D.C.). Republished in: Vaughan Robinson (ed.) Migration and Public Policy, 1999, (Edward Elgar Collection: Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA., USA 1999, pp. 320-340). The author criticizes the hardly justified dichotomy in the social science literature dealing with displaced populations, which separates the study of refugees from the study of populations uprooted by development projects. He argues that this knowledge dichotomy must be overcome by exploring both the similarities and differences between these large and distinct categories of displaced populations. Both literatures, which currently do not 'speak to each other,' stand to gain theoretically from overcoming their relative isolation, and could also analyze comparatively their empirical findings. New trends are signaled regarding the international aid and assistance channeled during the 1980s to refugee and displaced populations. The paper discusses the increasing magnitude of development‑related population displacements on a global scale contrasting it with the absence in many countries of domestic policies and legal frameworks to regulate involuntary dislocation and resettlement. The differences between the approaches used in giving relief to refugees and the development‑oriented strategies for resettling displaced people are examined in light of their effectiveness for restoring the autonomy and economic independence of both groups of displaced persons. The author emphasizes the direct responsibility of the state in the case of development‑displaced people and the obligation incumbent upon governments to allocate adequate resources for reestablishing the groups uprooted by development programs to full self‑sustainability.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1990d. Poverty Risks from Population Displacement in Water Resources Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Institute for International Development. The counter‑development risks, particularly the impoverishment risks, entailed by some worthy development programs are often overlooked by planners. This paper provides the first sketch of a model of the main impoverishment risks in resettlement, which was subsequently developed by the author into a full-fledged conceptual framework: the Impoverishment Risks and Reconstruction Model (IRR). (see further entries: Cernea M. 1997b, and Cernea M. 2000a). Failure to recognize risks from the outset and to adopt measures for avoiding or mitigating them explains why certain impoverishing effects may snowball beyond expectations. This paper analyzes water resource development programs as a type of programs that bring large benefits: irrigation, energy, flood control, drinking water, better navigation. Yet, such programs also generate high risks of impoverishment of the upstream population dislocated by reservoir submergence or downstream in large canals. Analysis indicates that the risks of impoverishment are high and entail impoverishment in the forms of landlessness, unemployment, homelessness, marginalization, food insecurity, increased morbidity, and social disarticulation. This paper proposes four paths under which preventative and mitigating measures should be built into the very projects that may cause such impoverishment effects: policy frameworks, legal frameworks, planning frameworks, and organizational frameworks. The paper advocates the need for production‑based approaches to reestablish self‑sufficiency and improve the living standards of reservoir populations after their relocation.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1990e. "Reinsediamento Involuntary nei Progetti di Sviluppo." Forum, Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Populi (CISP), November.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1990f. "Population Displacement and Water Resources Development: Current Practice, Issues and Development." Paper presented at the Third Expert Group Workshop on River/Lake Basin Approaches to Environmentally Sound Management of Water Resources, Otsu, Japan, Feb. 12‑17, 1990.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1990g. "Urban Development and Compulsory Population Displacement." Practicing Anthropology, 12:3:10-19.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1990h. Pemukiman Penduduk Secara Terpaksa Dalam Proyek-proyek Pembangunan. With introductory study by George J. Aditjondro, Jakarta (Involuntary Resettlement in Development Projects, Policy Guidelines in World Bank Financed Projects). (Bahasa edition of paper described in entry: Cernea M. M. 1988a.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1990i Le Déplacement involontaire et la réinstallation des populations dans les projets de développement. Directives générales pour les projets financés par la Banque Mondiale. TP 80 World Bank : Washington DC
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1991. "Involuntary Resettlement: Social Research, Policy and Planning." M. Cernea, ed., Putting People First. Sociological Variables in Development Projects. 2nd Edition. New York - London: Oxford University Press. (Also available in the Chinese edition of the volume Putting People First, Beijing, 1998; and in the Japanese edition of the volume Putting People First, 1998, Tokyo; Japan. Forest Technical Association Publ. House). This chapter, introduced for the first time in this 2nd edition of Putting People First, explores the general issue of adverse, counter‑developmental consequences from induced development processes by focusing in-depth on some such consequences: the frequent instances of compulsory population displacements which tear apart the social fabric of existing communities and creates risks of impoverishment. A risk model is outlined to guide the planning of preventative measures. From this starting point the author explains why population displacement caused by development projects requires a policy informed by social science research and how such an explicit policy has been formulated and institutionalized in the World Bank. Analyzing this case of policy formulation, the author argues that transforming social knowledge into building blocks for policy is a three‑stage process, and documents each one of the stages. An effective social science approach is one that can use the 'culture' of the development project cycle to establish a planning framework and processing criteria for projects that cause human displacement.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1993a. "Socio‑Economic and Cultural Approaches to Involuntary Population Resettlement." Guidelines on Lake Management, 2, 1991: 177‑188. World Bank Reprint Series: No. 468, Washington DC: World Bank.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1993b. “The Urban Environment and Population Relocation.” World Bank Discussion Paper #152. The article is a revised, enlarged, and updated version of entry: Cernea M.M. 1989a, Washington, D.C.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1993c. “Anthropological and Sociological Research for Policy Development on Population Resettlement”. In vol. Michael M. Cernea and Scott Guggenheim ( eds.) Anthropological Approaches to Resettlement. Policy, Practice, and Theory. Westview Press: Boulder-Oxford, pp.14-38. The study analyzes the itinerary of social science knowledge from "sitting on-the-shelf" all the way to filling in a “policy vacuum” and crafting an institutional formal policy about a major socio-demographic process. The author signals the difficulties encountered on this up-hill itinerary within the World Bank and the in-house institutional clashes and changes required for promoting new social/cultural knowledge into the policy realm. He identifies stubborn cognitive dissonance behaviours, emphasizes failures or sluggishness in the demand for new social knowledge, shows why simply supplying raw “knowledge on the shelf” is not enough, and why and how scholarly knowledge needs to be translated into a guide for operational action and institutional prescriptions. One symptomatic byproduct is the gradual internalization of a “modified” vocabulary about resettlement, that gradually penetrated the Bank’s daily vernacular and formal public discourse.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1993/94. "Social Science Research and the Crafting of Policy on Population Resettlement." Knowledge and Policy: The International Journal of Knowledge Transfer and Utilization (Fall/winter 1993/94) 6:3/4:176-200.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1994a. "African Population Resettlement in a Global Context." In C. Cook, ed., Involuntary Resettlement in Africa: Selected Papers from a Conference on Environment and Settlement Issues in Africa. Technical Paper 227. World Bank, Africa Technical Department Series, Washington, D.C.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1994b. "Environmental and Social Requirements for Resource-Based Regional Development." Regional Development Dialogue. UNCRD, Nagoya, Japan 15:1:186-98.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1995a. "Social Integration and Population Displacement: The Contribution of Social Science." International Social Science Journal 143:91-112, UNESCO : Paris. A concise history of the preparation and adoption in 1980 of the World Bank’s policy that guides involuntary resettlement operations and of the subsequent improvements and additions mode to the policy in 1986 and 1990, and 1994. the paper argues that displacement’s disintegrative effects can be predicted and counteracted through policies and programs enriched by knowledge from social sciences. Only after this body of knowledge was translated by social scientists into the normative policy of a large-scale organization¾the World Bank¾did it become influential in practice. The article discusses how the cognitive dissonance displayed by governments and development agencies vis-à-vis relevant research findings destroyed the “normal” relationship between supply and demand of knowledge. It also analyses how the culture of a large bureaucratic organization, and its habits of absorbing or ignoring knowledge, can be changed. Also reports the main findings of a recent study, based on almost 200 development projects financed by the World Bank in 39 countries during 1992, that analyzed how development caused displacements and resettlements.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1995b. "Understanding and Preventing Impoverishment: The State Cernea, Michael M. 2000a “Risks, Safeguards, and Reconstruction: A Model for Population Displacement and Resettlement” In M. Cernea and C. McDowell eds. Risks and Reconstruction: Resettlers' and Refugees' Experiences. Washington D.C.: World Bank
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1995b. "Understanding and Preventing Impoverishment: The Stateof Knowledge in Resettlement." Journal of Refugee Studies 8 (December): 245-64 Discusses the remarkable progress in social science research on resettlement during the last decade; focusing on an evolution from the stress-centered model to the impoverishment/reestablishment-centered model in analyzing resettlement. The impoverishment risks model consists of eight recurrent and interlinked processes. It reveals how multifaceted impoverishment caused by displacement occurs via induced landlessness, joblessness, homelessness, marginalization, increased morbidity, food insecurity, loss of access to common property, and social disarticulation. The conceptual model of impoverishment through displacement also contains, in essence, the model for the positive reestablishment of those displaced, which requires turning the impoverishment model on its head. The author analyzes in detail the income curve of resettlers during displacement and relocation, its drop and the investment inputs needed to reverse the drop and the income curve, thus pointing out the financial premises for income recovery. Recommends two key priorities for future resettlement research: research on reestablishment experiences and on the economics of displacement and recovery
  • Cernea, Michael M.1995c. Eight Main Risks: Impoverishment and Social Justice in Resettlement. Environment Department, World Bank. Washington D.C. ESSD, Processed. The ethical and human rights dimensions in displacement/resettlement operations, argues the author, need to be highlighted constantly. Applying the concept of social justice provides an adequate perspective, since development programs should not aggravate poverty and cause new inequities by bringing benefits to some stakeholders, and destitution with impoverishment to others.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1995d. “El reasentamiento involuntario: la investigación social, la política, y la planificación in M. Cernea (ed.). Primero la Gente. Variables Sociológicas en el Desarrollo Rural, México City: Fondo de Cultura Economica, pp 224-256 (Spanish edition of entry: Cernea M.M. 1991).
  • Cernea, Michael M.1996a. "Sociological Practice and Action-Research on Population Resettlement: Parts I and II. Journal of Applied Sociology (1996-1997) 13-14:105-23. This article documents the internal organization, methodology, conduct, and outcomes, -- in terms of improved work patterns, knowledge gains and recommendations -- of a World Bank-sponsored applied action-research program over 15 months during 1993-1994. This action-research covered 192 development-induced involuntary resettlement projects implemented in 39 countries between 1986 and 1993. Carried out by a Task Force led by the article’s author, it included many social scientists working at field level and in World Bank headquarters. It has triggered numerous corrective actions on-the-spot and improvements in the resettlement processes studied. This action-research has also greatly increased the awareness about the social costs and risks involved in resettlement projects¾including landlessness, joblessness, homelessness, marginalization, high morbidity, food insecurity, loss of assets, and social disarticulation. This is the first research in which the IRR model was applied on a large scale. The author presents the basic recommendations adopted by the World Bank as a result of the study, and derives lessons on the role of sociologists in addressing the social-cultural issues in economic development.
  • Cernea, Michael M.1996b. "Public Policy Responses to Development-Induced Population Displacement." Economic and Political Weekly (India.) 31:1515-23, June. The author argues that the frequency, magnitude and severe consequences on people’s life of population displacements caused by development programs call for much more than case-by-case, short-term fix-ups responses. Public policies and legal frameworks are indispensable to protect resettlers rights and entitlements, to commit governments to avoid or minimize displacements, and to finance and implement protective measures. The author denounces “the policy vacuum” in this area, maintained by numerous governments, and argues that the absence of policy is a policy by default, non-protective, that facilitates their destitution and impoverishment. The article discusses good cases of policy adoption by some countries, and analyses in detail the case of India which does not have either a national policy at the pan-India level, or state-level policies in the vast majority of Indian states.
  • Cernea, Michael M.1996c. "Bridging the Research Divide: Studying Refugees and Development Oustees." In Tim Allen, ed., In Search of Cool Ground: Displacement and Homecoming in Northeast Africa. London and New York: James Currey. The author considerably amplifies his argument, formulated earlier (see entry Cernea M.M. 1990c) for integrating the conceptual apparatuses, theoretical propositions and investigative/analytical tools of three related, but still very weakly interconnected, research areas: the research on refugees, the research on populations internally displaced by development programs, and disaster research.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1996d. "Social Organization and Development Anthropology. The 1995 Malinowski Award Lecture.” Environmentally Sustainable Development. Studies and Monographs Series #6. Washington, D.C.: World Bank. This award lecture synthesizes much of the author’s personal experiences (1974-1995) in incorporating, and promoting the use of professional knowledge generated by anthropological and sociological sciences within World Bank politics and programs. The author outlines strategic options available to social scientists for contributing to development through policy definition and operational research, and emphasizes the centrality of the concept “social organization”. One area analyzed as an example is the formulation of World Bank policy on involuntary resettlement, based on findings and concepts from anthropological and sociological research. The author criticizes the patterns of teaching anthropology in major universities. He also critiques three biased development models he identified in the mindsets and activities of many development practitioners and agencies—the "technocentric," "econocentric," and "commodocentric" biases, -- tracking down the academic origin of such biases that abstract out socio-cultural variables, and result subsequently in distorted development interventions.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1996e (in Chinese) Resettlement and Development Studies on World Bank Resettlement Policies and Experiences. With a Preface by Prof. Shi Guoqing. Compiled by the National Research Center on Resettlement-NRCR, Nanjing, China. Nanjing: Hohai University Press, 174 pages.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1996f. “When Some Share the Gains and Others Share the Pains”: Foreword to the volume Involuntary Displacement in Dam Projects. In vol. A.B.Ota and Anita Agnihotri (eds.) Involuntary Displacement in Dam Projects. Prachi Prakashan: New Delhi, pp. 1-10. The article focuses on the ethical implications of involuntary resettlement and on the inequities detectable in projects which cause displacement. The author emphasizes that in many such projects the distribution of benefits and losses is severely skewed and is frequently haphazard. For instance, in dam and reservoir projects those living downstream share in the gains while those upstream share mainly in the pains of development. The deprivation of those who pay the inordinately high social costs of displacement are captured in the impoverishment risks model, developed by the author, and employed by some contributors to the volume for which this foreword article was written.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1997a. African Involuntary Population Resettlement in a Global Context. Social Assessment Series Paper 45.ESD, The World Bank: Washington, D.C. Africa’s painful experiences with dam-related forced displacements have contributed much to the origins and knowledge of resettlement anthropology. The author provides a broad overview of development-induced displacements in Africa, its proportions, trends, characteristics, and future perspectives, comparing them to the global picture of involuntary resettlement processes.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1997b. "The Risks and Reconstruction Model for Resettling Displaced Populations." World Development 25:10:1569-87. Empirical data are examined to distill trends and common characteristics in, and to construct a theoretical model of, displacement and reconstruction. The model captures the socioeconomic content of both segments of the process: forced displacement and re-establishment. It identifies the key risks and impoverishment processes in displacement. The model suggests that reconstructing and improving the livelihood of those displaced require risk-reversals through explicit strategies backed up by adequate financing (see also the updated version in entry: Cernea M. 2000a).
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1997c. Hydropower Dams and Social Impacts: A Sociological Perspective, Social Assessment Series ESD, Paper 044; The World Bank, Washington D.C. An overview of the specific dimensions of resettlement in hydropower and irrigation dams, with a discussion of ways to involve displaced people in sharing in the benefits of dam projects.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1997d. “Eight Main Risks: Impoverishment and Social Justice in Population Resettlement” In S.R. Metha ed., Poverty, Population and Sustainable Development.” Jaipur and New Delhi, India: Rawat Publications (see also entry: Cernea M. 1995c). The author starts from the issues of social justice, rarely discussed in the development literature. The paper highlights the various forms of social injustice inflicted on the displaced people who are left impoverished after relocation.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1997e. “Social Concerns in Population Resettlement”, in Borrini-Feyerabend, G. (ed.) Beyond Fences: Seeking Social Sustainability in Conservation, Vol. II, IUCN: Gland: Switzerland, pp 50-55
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1998a. "La sociologie des déplacements forcés: un modèle theorique" In V. Laissailly-Jacobs, ed., Communautées deracinées dans les pays du Sud. Paris: Autrepart, OSTROM.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1998b. “Economics and the Private Sector: Several Open Issues in Resettlement Research” The 1998 Colson Lecture, University of Oxford, RSP, May 13. This lecture brings into discussion three sets of issues little addressed before in the involuntary resettlement literature: the economic analysis and financing of planned compulsory resettlement processes; the involuntary resettlement entailed by projects financed by the private sector, as distinct from public sector projects; and human rights infringements in development-entailed compulsory resettlement.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1998c. “Dèplacement forcé et réinstallation de populations: recherche, politiques d’intervention et planification.” In Michael M. Cernea, ed., La dimension humaine dans les projets de développement. Les variables sociologique et culturelles. Paris: Karthala. (see entry Cernea, 1991, updated version)
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1998d. "Impoverishment or Social Justice? A Model for Planning Resettlement." In H. M. Mathur and David Marsden, eds. Development Projects and Impoverishment Risks: Resettling Project-Affected People in India, Oxford: Oxford University Press. (See also entry: Cernea, M. 1997d)
  • Cernea, Michael M. ed., 1999a. The Economics of Involuntary Resettlement: Questions and Challenges. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, pp. 247. This first volume in the international resettlement literature dedicated to the economics of involuntary resettlement argues that the economic content of displacement and resettlement processes has been little researched and that economic analytical methodologies employed in projects causing displacement are inadequate or insufficient or directly flawed. The volume’s seven parts are authored by: Michael Cernea; David-Pearce; John Eriksen; Clara-Maria Mejia; Lakshman Mahapatra; and Warren van Wicklin III. Each chapter is preceded by an Editor’s Note. The book’s contributors bring the perspectives of four different scientific disciplines - economics, sociology, anthropology, and political science - yet all converge in making the same basic case: they argue for an organic synergy and mutual reinforcement between economic and social knowledge in resettlement work. Bringing in the tools of economics to complement the sociological and technical analysis of resettlement processes is essential not only for explaining their anatomy better, but also for guiding decision making and investments.
  • Cernea, Michael M.1999b. “Why Economic Analysis is Essential to Resettlement: A Sociologist's View.” In M. Cernea, ed., The Economics of Involuntary Resettlement: Questions and Challenges, Washington, DC: World Bank. Re-published also in the Economic and Political Weekly , India, Mumbay 34:2149:58. See also entry 2000b for Spanish version. The author argues that more in-depth economic research, a different methodology for the economic analysis of resettlement components in projects, and equitable financing are necessary for both reducing the size of displacements and placing resettlers on a sound path to livelihood reconstruction and betterment. He recommends the following themes as priorities for economic research: valuation of losses; economic risks analysis; displacement costs analysis; distributional analysis; the design of safety nets; the rationale for investment financing in resettlement, incremental to compensation; alternatives to simple cost –benefit analysis, which, as practiced currently, is inadequate. The “economics of compensation”, on which resettlement operations are predicated currently, argues the author, must be replaced by an “economics of recovery”.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1999c. "Mutual Reinforcement: Linking Economic and Sociological Knowledge about Resettlement." In Michael M. Cernea, ed., The Economics of Involuntary Resettlement: Questions and Challenges. Washington, D.C.: World Bank. The author contrasts the extensive resettlement research accumulated in anthropology and sociology with the paucity of economic analyses of this process. The article calls for research in multiple disciplines and mutual reinforcement between their bodies of knowledge, and introduces other authors’ contributions.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 1999d. “The Power of Synthesis”. Foreword to the book by K. Mahapatra, Resettlement, Impoverishment and Reconstruction in India. Vikas Publishing House: New Delhi.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 2000a “Risks, Safeguards, and Reconstruction: A Model for Population Displacement and Resettlement” In M. Cernea and C. McDowell eds. Risks and Reconstruction: Resettlers' and Refugees' Experiences. Washington D.C.: World Bank. Re-published also in the Economic and Political Weekly, India, Mumbay, nr. 41; 3659-3678. This study is a fuller and updated presentation of the impoverishment Risks and Reconstruction (IRR) model formulated by the author and presented in preliminary versions in earlier publications. The model is intended (a) to inform the crafting of resettlement policies, (b) to guide planning and operational work for preparing displacements cautiously and for reconstructing and improving resettlers’ productive basis, incomes, and livelihoods by preempting and counteracting impoverishment risks, and (c) to help organize and conceptualize empirical resettlement research on the ground. The study discusses the four basic functions that the IRR model is apt to perform, defines each one of the main impoverishment risks and documents them empirically, and outlines reconstruction strategies able to counteract/mitigate the identified key risks. The study also discusses how the IRR model is currently being used increasingly in various projects, in research, teaching and academic work, in many countries, by scholars and practitioners. The author emphasizes that the IRR is a flexible conceptual framework, open to adaptations, use in different contexts, and further improvements
  • Cernea, Michael M. 2000b. “Por que el análisis económico es esencial para los reasentamientos: La visión de un sociólogo”, Ava-Revista de Antropología. Publicación del Programa dePostgrado en Antropología Social, Universidad Nacional de Misiones, Argentina, nr. 1, Abril, 2000
  • Cernea, Michael M. 2000c. “Insularity versus Partnership: Linking The Economics of Involuntary Resettlement to Anthropological Knowledge.” High Plains Applied Anthropologist, 1:20:1-5. The primary goal of any involuntary resettlement process is to prevent impoverishment and to improve the livelihood of resettlers. To do this, governments and technical agencies must understand the economics of dispossession, impoverishment, and recovery and plan for growth at the relocation site. Displaced populations face a specific set of risks. These atypical risks are not addressed in routine project economic analysis. Robust empirical evidence has shown that, in most cases, these overlooked and little under-stood risks result in cumulated deprivations and severe impoverishment. On one level, a more direct and involved role from economics in studying the social and economic dimensions and effects of involuntary population resettlement needs to be set in motion. On another level, participation in the current broad policy and intellectual debate about reorienting the development paradigm toward social inclusion and social development requires focusing on one aspect: the need to bridge the gap between economic and social knowledge in addressing an important challenge faced by many current and forthcoming development programs—population resettlement. This calls for a novel "economics of recovery and development", to replace the long outdated "economics of compensation" that still guides the majority of resettlement operations, particularly in projects financed only from domestic sources. Developing such a novel "economics of recovery" demands a much closer intellectual and operational partnership than currently exists among economists, anthropologists, sociologists, and technical specialists.
  • Cernea , Michael M. 2000d. “Some Thoughts on Research Priorities in Resettlement Research”. In The Eastern Anthropologist, India, vol. 53, nr 1-2, pp 3-12. The article opens the special issue on resettlement of The Eastern Anthropologist dedicated to involuntary resettlement. The author identifies and recommends several key areas and issues which, in his view, are of priority importance for developing future systematic research of resettlement processes and policies. These strategic research areas are: impoverishment through displacement and resettlement; ethical and economic pre-requisites in resettlement; vulnerable sub-categories at increased risks from displacement; resettlement under private sector projects; understudied types of projects that entail displacements; and resettlers rights and collective action in resisting resettlement.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 2000e. Reasentamiento de Población y Estudios Sociales 10th World Congress of the International Rural Sociology Association (IRSA), Rio de Janeiro, July 30-August 5, 2000. Processed. A collection of seven studies translated from English originals. Five studies analyze population resettlement, two studies discuss issues about employing sociological knowledge in designing and implementing development programs and policies.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 2001a: Cultural Heritage and Development. A framework for Action in the Middle East and North Africa. Washington: MENA Region, The World Bank. This strategy paper develops, argues and documents a new orientation for the World Bank toward pro-actively investing in the preservation and management of cultural patrimony assets through development oriented programs, rather than only preserving chance-find cultural artifacts. The paper signals that projects aiming at protecting cultural assets bring also the risks of unwarranted displacement of people residing around archaeological remains and important cultural monuments.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 2001b Development Economics, Sociology, And Displacement: A Vexing Dilemma Under Interdisciplinary Dialogue. Cornell University Conference on Displacement and Resettlement, November 9-10, 2001. Ithaca, NY: Polson Institute for Global Development. This paper tackles the issue of preventing the onset of new impoverishing processes and causes. It focuses in particular on the economics of compensation for resettlement purposes. The article concludes that: compensation (with regard to resettlement), fails to perform the restorative function that economics and development policies ascribe to it; the number of resettlers who, after compensation is paid, remain worse off and do not recover represents in many projects the majority. The economics of compensation is inconsistent with the basic goal of resettlement policy because it is intrinsically incapable to supply, as compensation, the resources necessary for reinserting the displacees at the policy mandated level. The compensation principle and norms are heavily distorted in practice by incomplete or corrupt procedures. But even perfect compensation conveyance would still be insufficient for achieving the policy objective of restoration and improvement. To achieve them, development investments must complement compensation payments.
  • Cernea, M. 2001c. Risques d’appauvrissement et développement : un modèle pour la réinstallation des populations déplacées, in Jean-François Baré (ed.) L’Évaluation des politiques de développement : Approches pluridisciplinaires, pp. 175-232. Paris : l’Harmattan
  • Cernea, Michael M. 2001d. “Eight Main Risks: Preventing Impoverishment during Population Resettlement” in Chris de Wet and Roddy Fox (eds.). Transforming Settlement in Southern Africa, Edinburgh: Edinburgh U.P., for the International African Institute.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 2002a. “For a New Economics of Resettlement: the Sociological Critique of the Compensation Principle. International Social Science Journal, no.175, 2002. UNESCO, Paris. Many development projects intended to alleviate poverty end up increasing poverty by displacing large numbers of people without reestablishing them viably. Projects entailing resettlement will continue into the future, requiring ever-deeper examination of the nature and consequences of forced displacement. The author appreciates the contribution of economic science to defining the compensation principle, but critiques [a] its limitation to compensation of losses, [b] the inadequate methodology economists usually employ in projects causing forced displacement, and [c] the frequent absence of an economic analysis that recognizes the full cost of resettlement. He argues that the magnitude of the combined material and non-material impoverishment experienced by those displaced far exceeds the redeeming powers of narrow compensation-centered solutions offered by conventional economics. The poverty risks embedded in forced displacement are outlined. The paper signals a mismatch between goals and means in resettlement policies and criticizes current underestimations recurrent in the economic and financial appraisal of resettlement operations. To remedy and improve current practice, the author argues that a shift is necessary from the resettlement economics centered on compensation toward an economics centered on the reconstruction of resettlers' livelihood and on the economic and financial anatomy of displacement and reconstruction processes. Project imposed displacements must be accompanied by planning for “resettlement with development”. To achieve development in the case of uprooted and relocated people, Governments and project owners must not only compensate losses imposed on those displaced, but also must supplement compensation payments with financing outright development investments, aimed at both restoring and improving resettlers’ livelihoods above pre-project levels.
  • Cernea, Michael M. 2002b. “Risks Analysis and Reduction of Involuntary Resettlement: A Theoretical and Operational Model.” in Vandana Desai and Robert B. Potter (eds.) The Companion to Development Studies, London: Arnold and Oxford University Press. Pp 453-459. The paper, written for classroom use, concisely summarizes the methodology for identifying and measuring impoverishment risks inherent in involuntary resettlement processes through the application of the Impoverishment Risks and Reconstruction Model proposed by the author. Three basic concepts are highlighted: risk, impoverishment, and reconstruction. The paper emphasizes that risk reduction in resettlement should be pursued not only through technical and economic measures focused on each individual risk but also through policy measures, such as better demand-management policies in the energy field, introduction of social safety nets, and others.
  • Cernea Michael M., 2002. “Riesgos de pobreza y reconstrucción: Un modelo para el desplazamiento y relocalización de poblaciones”. Avá (Revista de Antropología). Publicación del Programa de Postgrado en Antropologia Social, Universidad Nacional de Misiones, Argentia, Nr. 5, 2002. Updated version of study at entry: Cernea M. M. 2000a.
  • Cernea, Michael M. and S.E.Guggenheim, (eds) 1993. Anthropological Approaches to Resettlement: Policy, Practice, and Theory. Boulder, Co.: Westview Press. Collection of essays based on conference papers given in the 1988 International Conference of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences in Zagreb, Yugoslavia but also including papers prepared subsequently. Contributions include 'Policies for Development and the Development of Policies: The World Bank and Resettlement (Cernea); Legal Aspects of Population Relocation (Shihata); Involuntary Resettlement and Economic Development (Schuh); Resettlement Policies in Brazil's Power Sector (Serra); Involuntary Displacement in Finland (Mustanoja and Mustanoja); Policies and Participation from the Yacyreta Project, Argentina (Bartolome); African Resettlement: Were the lessons of Akosombo and Kpong learned? (Adu‑Aryee); The Causes of the Navajo Relocation (Aberle); Peasants, Planners, and Participation: Resettlement in Mexico (Guggenheim); Successful Resettlement with Participation: Lessons from the Arenal Project, Costa Rica (Partridge); Resettlement at Manantali, Mali: Short term success, long term problems (Horowitz, Koenig, Grimm, and Konate); Social and Economic Adaptation during Resettlement: the Case of the Beles Valley, Ethiopia (Agneta, Berterame, Capirci, Magni, Tommasoli); Involuntary Displacement and the Changing Frontier of Kinship: A Study of Resettlement in Orissa (Behura and Nayak); Involuntary Resettlement: A Plea for the Host Population (Salem‑Murdock); A Spatial Analysis of Involuntary Relocation: A South African Case Study (de Wet); Disaster –caused refugee flaws and development-caused population displacement (Cernea). In the 17 contributions to this volume both theory and fieldwork along different approaches to resettlement are reviewed. The study shows how recent research has advanced thinking on how to analyze involuntary displacement, and on the role of displacement within the general process of development. Examples from Argentina, Brazil, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mali, Mexico, Paraguay, and South Africa illustrate the causes and environmental, socioeconomic, political, and legal consequences of involuntary resettlement. The volume concludes with reflections on more general theoretical issues associated with resettlement, noting that household decision making, economic alternatives, adaptive potential, and impact analysis all require more careful attention.
  • Cernea, Michael M. and Scott Guggenheim. 1993. “Anthropological Approaches to Resettlement”. In vol. Anthropological Approaches to Resettlement: Policy, Practice, and Theory. Boulder -Oxford Co.: Westview Press. Introduction to the volume, defining its goals, its organization, and the original contributions made by its co-authors.
  • Cernea, Michael M. and Scott Guggenhaim 1994. Resettlement and Development. The Bankwide Task Force Review of Project involving Involuntary Resettlement 1986-1993 (with contributions from task-force members: W. van Wicklin III, D. Aronson, A. Salam, L. Soeftestad, D. Tewari, T. Solo) Washington, DC, the World Bank. Environment Department. The document reports in full on the largest social analysis and action-research undertaken on Bank projects (192 projects in 39 countries) in light of a specific social policy – the resettlement policy (see also further in this bibliography the entry: World Bank 1994. Resettlement and Development). This major report fully presents the findings of the largest social analysis and action-research undertaken on Bank projects (192 projects in 39 countries) in an attempt to apply consistently a specific social policy and the protections it provides – the resettlement policy. The study applied for the first time the impoverishment risks and reconstruction model (IRR) in a large scale analysis of performance of Bank-assisted resettlement operations. Important strategy priorities were adopted by World Bank management and the Board of Executive Directors based on the analysis and recommendations of this report (see also in this biography the entries: World Bank 1994 - Resettlement and Development; and Cernea M. M. 1996a).
  • Cernea, M. with the assistance of April Adams. 1994. Sociology, Anthropology and Development. An Annotated Bibliography of World Bank Publications 1975-1993. Foreword by Ismail Serageldin, ESD Studies and Monograph nr. 3, Washington, DC: The World Bank. This annotated bibliography of virtually all studies published by World Bank sociologists and anthropologists (staff and consultants) in that given period contains a section with detailed presentations of over 40 publications on settlement and resettlement. The volume includes other sections on: social science and development; social variables in environmental management; social policy and sectoral analysis, a list of informal papers and publications; and index of geographic locations and populations
  • Cernea, Michael M. and Hari Mohan Mathur (eds.) 1995. Displacement and Resettlement. Focus on Asian Experiences. (Principal editor H. M. Mathur) Preface by Michael Cernea. Vikas Publishing House: New Delhi. A collection of studies on resettlement in India, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. (See also entry: Mathur, Hari Mohan 1995).
  • Cernea, Michael M. and Christopher McDowell, eds. 2000a. Risks and Reconstruction. Experiences of Resettlers' and Refugees. Washington D.C.: World Bank, 487p. This book undertakes the first multi-dimensional comparative analysis of two large groups of the world's displaced populations: resettlers uprooted by development and refugees fleeing military conflicts or natural calamities. The opening chapter of the book outlines the “Impoverishment Risks and Reconstruction model (IRR)” for resettling displaced populations, developed by Cernea, and is followed by 16 studies which explore feature by feature, empirical, the elements of the IRR model, from either a resettlement perspective or a refugee perspective. The book's co-authors--academics and practitioners from both fields - are Cernea; McDowell; Voutira and Harrel-Bond; Nayak; Lassailly-Jacob; Meikle and Zhu; Mejia; Reddy; Sorensen; Fernandes; Hakim; Green; Kibreab; Koenig and Diarra; Brown; Hirschon; Wolde-Selassie; Mahapatra and Mahapatra. All their studies are annotated separately in this bibliography. The common central issues explored are: the condition of being "displaced," the risks of impoverishment and destitution, the rights and entitlements of those uprooted, and the means of reconstruction of their livelihood. The volume has an introduction and eight parts: each section is preceded by an issue-summarizing “Editors’ Note”. Part 1 is devoted to theoretical considerations about the IRR model and its applicability to development-induced displacement and refugee situations; it sets the conceptual framework for the following sections. Part 2 discusses landlessness as impoverishment, and strategies for land-based relocation, or alternatives when land is unavailable. Part 3 explores joblessness as impoverishment and reemployment options for resettlers in China and the productive reintegration of a group of resettled brickmakers in Argentina. Part 4 focuses on homelessness and in particular on urban resettlement; it provides a detailed discussion of house reconstruction by refugees. Part 5 analyzes marginalization processes occurring for both resettlers and refugees, from creeping marginalization of all kinds to social re-inclusion. Part 6 analyzes the many facets of food insecurity, hunger, malnutrition, and the struggle of displacees to reestablish a sustainable food basis. Part 7 comprehensively documents the social and economic complexities of losing, maintaining, or regaining access to natural resources commonly held. Under the concepts of social disarticulation and community re-articulation, the final Part 8 brings together the many strands of impoverishment and highlights experiences of successful resettlement with livelihood reconstruction. A rich bibliography list on resettlement studies is included at the book’s end.
  • Cernea, Michael M. and Maninder Gill (eds.) 2000b. Tenth World Congress of Rural Sociology. Involuntary Resettlement: Risks, Reconstruction and Development. Agendas and Book of Abstract for Symposium I and Workshop 18. Chairman: Michael M. Cernea; Organizer: Maninder S. Gill. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. July 30 – August 5, 2000. Processed. The volume contains over 120 abstracts of papers about population resettlement presented during the sessions of the World Congress. The abstracts inform about research carried out in Asia, Africa, North America. A considerable group of papers are from Brazil and other Latin American countries. The abstracts included in this publication are in either English, Spanish, or Portuguese. The volume contains also the list of resettlement researchers and practitioners who participated in the resettlement sessions of the World Congress, with their addresses.
  • Cernea, Michael M. and Ravi Kanbur. 2002. An Exchange on the Principle of Compensation in Resettlement. Working Paper, Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, October. This publication includes two studies in a dialogue between the two authors and disciplines. Responding to earlier atudies by Cernea (1999, 2000), Ravi Kanbur undertakes a theoretical and historical review of the evolution of thinking in economic science about the principle of compensating losses inflicted by the state on private economic actors. He concludes that, despite the principle’s intrinsic justification, it does not pan out in practice in circumstances created by development projects that cause massive population displacements. Kanbur therefore recommends to supplement compensation by introducing a system of generalized safety nets. Cernea agrees with Kanbur on several issues, including the need for some kind of safety nets, but questions whether this would effectively resolve the deep problems of impoverishment caused by forced displacements. He moves the analysis and debate farther, to the realm of development policy, and argues that compensation as a means is intrinsically incapable and insufficient to achieve the goals posited by resettlement policies. Compensation practices are riddled by flaws and countless distortions, as demonstrated in the paper. But even if the principle would be applied better, it is not able to accomplish either full restitution and restoration of incomes and livelihoods, or, even more, their improvement, as aimed at in policy. This mismatch between means and goals in policy and practice leaves cost externalization unchecked and decapitalizes the displaced population. Cernea argues that what is necessary --better than, or in addition of, safety nets provisions -- is development investment financing channeled towards the displaced groups’ re-establishment, which would complement compensation payments. Currently, such financial investments are routinely channeled by the state towards those defined as the beneficiaries of public projects, who thus become winners, while those who endure displacements receive only compensation as partial restitution for what is taken away from them, but routinely do not receive investments targeted to them, and end up as the losers.


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