Skip to main content

Research to manage the Environment for Development

Recent publications


    One-Off Subsidies and Long-Run Adoption: Experimental Evidence on Improved Cooking Stoves in Senegal

    Free technology distribution can be an effective development policy instrument if adoption is socially inefficient and hampered by affordability constraints. Yet, policy makers often oppose free distribution, arguing that reference dependence spoils the willingness to pay and thus market potentials in the long run. For improved cookstoves, this paper studies the willingness to pay six years after a randomized one-time free distribution.


      Social Norms Information Treatments in the Municipal Water Supply Sector: Some New Insights on Benefits and Costs

      Social norms comparisons are tools that are being used more and more often by energy and water utilities all over the world in order to induce households to conserve resources. Such conservation programs are appealing to utilities because they are an easy-to-implement alternative to raising prices and commonly result in short-term reductions in energy and water use of about 2-5%. However, the welfare effects of social norms programs are rarely discussed and assessed, especially in the context of municipal water supply.


        Demand for Off-Grid Solar Electricity: Experimental Evidence from Rwanda

        The cost of providing electricity to the unconnected 1.1 billion people in developing countries is significant. High hopes are pinned on market-based dissemination of off-grid technologies to complement the expensive extension of public grid infrastructure. In this paper, we elicit the revealed willingness-to-pay for different off-grid solar technologies in a field experiment in rural Rwanda. Our findings show that households are willing to dedicate substantial parts of their budget to electricity, but not enough to reach cost-covering prices.


        Policy sequencing toward decarbonization

        Many economists have long held that carbon pricing—either through a carbon tax or cap-and-trade—is the most cost-effective way to decarbonize energy systems, along with subsidies for basic research and development. Meanwhile, green innovation and industrial policies aimed at fostering low-carbon energy technologies have proliferated widely. Most of these predate direct carbon pricing.


        Does purchase price matter for the waiting time to start using energy efficient technologies: Experimental evidence from rural Ethiopia?

        this study uses a randomized experiment in rural Ethiopia to test on how quickly energy efficient technology (an improved stove) is put in use after the technologies is disseminated. We evaluate two concepts that may affect usage of a product: screening (related to valuation of a product) and sunk cost effects (based on the price the potential user paid for the product). A standard Tobit and IV-Tobit methods of estimations are used for testing sunk cost and screening effects, respectively.


        Mapping and valuation of South Africa's ecosystem services: A local perspective

        We used locally-sourced and other relevant information to value ecosystem services provided by South Africa's terrestrial, freshwater and estuarine habitats. Our preliminary estimates suggest that these are worth at least R275 billion per annum to South Africans. Notwithstanding benefits to the rest of the world, natural systems provide a major source of direct income to poor households, and generate significant value in the economy through tourism and property markets, as well as providing considerable non-market benefits. Higher values


          Unintended Effects of Targeting an Environmental Rebate

          When designing schemes such as conditional cash transfers or payments for ecosystem services, the choice of whom to select and whom to exclude is critical. We incentivize and measure actual contributions to an environmental public good to ascertain whether being excluded from a rebate can affect contributions and, if so, whether the rationale for exclusion influences such effects. Treatments, i.e., three rules that determine who is selected and excluded, are randomly assigned. Two of the rules base exclusion on subjects’ initial contributions.


          The use of Ecosystem-based Adaptation practices by smallholder farmers in Central America

          There is growing interest in promoting the use of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) practices to help smallholder farmers adapt to climate change, however there is limited information on how commonly these practices are used by smallholder farmers and what factors influence their use. Using participatory mapping and field surveys, we examined the prevalence and characteristics of EbA practices on 300 smallholder coffee and maize farmers in six landscapes in Central America and explored the socioeconomic and biophysical factors associated with their use.


          The long-run relationship between CO2 emissions and economic activity in a small open economy: Uruguay 1882 - 2010

          The long-run relationship between carbon dioxide emissions from energy use and economic activity level is estimated for Uruguay between 1882 and 2010. We apply cointegration techniques and estimate a Vector Error Correction Model (VECM) for testing whether these variables are endogenous over the long-rung while also considering the short-run dynamics. The economic productive structure, the degree of openness, and the share of clean sources on total energy supply are also considered as explanatory variables.


          Heterogeneous Local Spillovers from Protected Areas in Costa Rica

          Spillovers can significantly reduce or enhance the net effects of land-use policies, yet there exists little rigorous evidence concerning their magnitudes. We examine how Costa Rica’s national parks affect deforestation in nearby areas. We find that average deforestation spillovers are not significant in 0–5 km and 5–10 km rings around the parks. However, this average blends multiple effects that are significant and that vary in magnitude across the landscape, yielding varied net impacts.