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Central America


Programa Agroambiental Mesoamericano (MAP-Noruega) 2013-2017: Principales resultados y lecciones aprendidas

El Programa Agroambiental Mesoamericano (MAP, por sus siglas en inglés) constituyó una plataforma de investigación, educación y desarrollo a la que se vincularon múltiples actores, incluyendo: familias productoras, organizaciones de productores y de la sociedad civil, plataformas de la gobernanza territorial, gobiernos locales y nacionales, y centros de investigación y educación, con el fin de apoyar el desarrollo rural sostenible en dos territorios de la región Mesoamericana.


Promoviendo prácticas Agrícolas Climáticamente Inteligentes para enfrentar los efectos del cambio y la variabilidad climática en Trifinio

Este documento resume los principales hallazgos de un estudio orientado a determinar cuán Climáticamente Inteligentes son las prácticas agropecuarias que el CATIE (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza), a través del Programa Agroambiental Mesoamericano (MAP, por sus siglas en inglés), y otras organizaciones gubernamentales y no gubernamentales han promovido y que miles de familias han adoptado en los territorios de Trifinio (zona fronteriza entre El Salvador, Honduras y Guatemala) y NicaCentral (centronorte de Nicaragua).


Promoviendo prácticas Agrícolas Climáticamente Inteligentes para enfrentar los efectos del cambio y la variabilidad climática en el centro-norte de Nicaragua (NicaCentral)

Este documento resume los principales hallazgos de un estudio orientado a determinar cuán climáticamente inteligentes son las prácticas agropecuarias, que el CATIE (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza), a través del Programa Agroambiental Mesoamericano (MAP, por sus siglas en inglés), y otras organizaciones gubernamentales y no gubernamentales han promovido y que miles de familias han adoptado en los territorios de NicaCentral (centro-norte de Nicaragua) y Trifinio (zona transfronteriza entre El Salvador, Honduras y Guatemala).


First experiences with a novel farmer citizen science approach: crowdsourcing participatory variety selection through on-farm triadic comparisons of technologies (tricot)

Rapid climatic and socio-economic changes challenge current agricultural R&D capacity. The necessary quantum leap in knowledge generation should build on the innovation capacity of farmers themselves. A novel citizen science methodology, triadic comparisons of technologies or tricot, was implemented in pilot studies in India, East Africa, and Central America. The methodology involves distributing a pool of agricultural technologies in different combinations of three to individual farmers who observe these technologies under farm conditions and compare their performance.


Carbon stocks, net cash flow and family benefits from four small coffee plantation types in Nicaragua

This study sought to identify agroforestry systems with coffee that simultaneously generate financial profits, provide goods for family consumption, and store significant amounts of carbon in aboveground biomass. We studied 27 coffee plantations in Nicaragua, grouped in four typologies defined a priori: C1, full-sun coffee; C2, coffee, bananas and service trees; C3, coffee, bananas, service and timber trees; C4, coffee, bananas, service, timber and fruit trees.


Sustainable energy topics: an overview from Central America

The Economics and Environment for Development Program (EEfD) carry out a review of policy relevant documents and countries initiatives on environment and development topics in Central America. The policy review addresses the issue of sustainable energy from two different perspectives. One approach considers energy in its broad spectrum and as a national sector of relevance, while the other one focuses on the relevance of implementing sustainable energies under a climate change context (EEfD 2016)1.


Essays on forest conservation policies, weather and school attendance

The first chapter of my dissertation Heterogeneous Local Spillovers from Protected Areas in Costa Rica (with Juan Robalino & Alexander Pfaff) offers a contribution to the literature estimating the impact of protected areas (PAs) on preventing tropical deforestation. It extends previous work by looking at how the establishment of national parks affects land use change in the neighboring private land. This is a relevant question as most analyses to date examine the realized deforestation impacts of PAs only within their borders, generally finding reduced deforestation effects.


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.


Spillovers from Conservation Programs

Conservation programs have increased significantly, as has the evaluation of their impacts. However, the evaluation of their potential impacts beyond program borders has been scarce. Such spillovers can significantly reduce or increase net impacts. In this review, we discuss how conservation programs might affect outcomes beyond their borders and present some evidence of when they have or have not. We focus on five major channels by which spillovers can arise: (1) input reallocation; (2) market prices; (3) learning; (4) nonpecuniary motivations; and (5) ecological-physical links.


Economic Incentives, Perceptions and Compliance with Marine Turtle Egg Harvesting Regulation in Nicaragua

La Flor Wildlife Refuge and nearby beaches on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua are important nesting sites for various species of endangered marine turtles. However, illegal harvesting of turtle eggs threatens the survival of marine turtles. In this study, we analysed the different motivations of local villagers for complying with a ban on harvesting marine turtle eggs in a context, in which government authorities do not have the means to fully enforce existing regulations.


Marine protected areas in Costa Rica: How do artisanal fishers respond?

Costa Rica is considering expanding their marine protected areas (MPAs) to conserve marine resources. Due to the importance of households’ responses to an MPA in defining the MPA’s ecological and economic outcomes, this paper uses an economic decision framework to interpret data from near-MPA household surveys to inform this policy discussion. The model and data suggest that the impact of expanding MPAs relies on levels of enforcement and on-shore wages.


Rapid participatory appraisal for the design and evaluation of payment for ecosystem services: An introduction to an assessment guide

Highlights of the Chapter:  Payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes can improve resilience to climate change The design of a PES scheme should consider equity criteria for users and providers Assessing minimum enabling conditions for PES implementation is key for success Four key components of a PES schemes should be assessed The rapid participatory appraisal guide, enables actors to assess key conditions


Spillovers from targeting of incentives: Exploring responses to being excluded

A growing set of policies involve transfers conditioned upon socially desired actions, such as attending school or conserving forest. However, given a desire to maximize the impact of limited funds by avoiding transfers that do not change behavior, typically some potential recipients are excluded on the basis of their characteristics, their actions or at random. This paper uses a laboratory experiment to study the behavior of individuals excluded on different bases from a new incentive that encourages real monetary donations to a public environmental conservation program.


Credit, Insurance and Farmers’ Liability: Evidence from a Lab in the Field Experiment with Coffee Farmers in Costa Rica

To cope with losses from extreme hydro-meteorological events, governments typically implement disaster relief programs and offer debt relief to affected parties. Governments in developing countries have made extensive use of total and partial debt coverage as a way to encourage investment in key sectors and in agriculture in particular. In the context of climate change, such practices are not viable because risk is systemic and losses can easily surpass most governments’ debt relief budgets.


Nitrogen oxide emissions and productive structure in Spain: An input–output perspective

We analyse the nitrogen oxide gas emissions of different productive sectors in Spain. Using input–output analysis, we study all sectors as subsystems of the economy and decompose into different components the total (direct and indirect) emissions generated by their final demand. This analysis provides guidance on the type of policies that should be developed in the different sectors with the aim of mitigating nitrogen oxide emissions. Some sectors that seem less important when looking at their direct emissions turn out to be highly relevant in terms of their total emissions.


In search of double dividends from climate change interventions: evidence from forest conservation and household energy transitions. Stockholm: Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA).

Climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity, and we are only starting to address it. Climate change scenarios indicate that poor people in developing countries will be particularly negatively affected, e.g. by increased temperature reducing their harvests or flooding due to sea-level rise and extreme weather events. There are also expectations that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be costefficiently reduced in developing countries through for example reduced deforestation or improved stoves.


Trade, Domestic Frictions, and Scale Effects

Because of scale effects, idea-based growth models imply that larger countries should be much richer than smaller ones. New trade models share the same counterfactual feature. In fact, new trade models exhibit other counterfactual implications associated with scale effects: import shares decrease and relative income levels increase too steeply with country size. We argue that these implications are largely a result of the standard assumption that countries are fully integrated domestically.


NOx emissions and productive structure in Spain: An input–output perspective

We analyse the NOx gas emissions of different productive sectors in Spain. Using input–output analysis, we study all sectors as subsystems of the economy and classify them according to the explanatory factors of their total (direct and indirect) emissions. This classification provides guidance on the type of policies that should be developed in the different sectors with the aim of mitigating NOx emissions. Some sectors that seem less important when looking at their direct emissions turn out to be highly relevant in terms of their total emissions.


Bridging the Policy and Investment Gap for Payment for Ecosystem Services: Learning from the Costa Rican Experience and Roads Ahead

This report provides findings based on the Costa Rican experiences that are beneficial for countries around the world implementing Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes. In this report, it is noted that from 2000 to 2010, over 5 million hectares of forest were lost per year globally, with the agricultural sector contributing to an estimated 80% of this loss. As forests are lost, the knock-on economic, environmental, and social benefits of ecosystem services provided by forests are lost as well (e.g.


Credit, insurance and farmers’ liability: Evidence from a lab-in- the-field experiment with coffee farmers in Costa Rica

Insurance is a key element for farmers’ investment decisions, but only if the government clearly communicates that it cannot provide full debt relief to all. This research examines the effect of farmers’ liability for debt on their demand for credit, with and without insurance. We test predictions of a theoretical model in a lab-in-the-field experiment with coffee farmers in Costa Rica.


Local Community Characteristics and Cooperation for Shared Green Reputation

This article examines how basic socioeconomic and political factors are associated with higher levels of cooperation to garner a local community's shared green reputation. We analyze panel data on participation efforts in a collective voluntary environmental program, the Ecological Blue Flag Program, by the entire population of beach communities in Costa Rica between 2001 and 2009.


Is Eco-Certification a Win–Win for Developing Country Agriculture? Organic Coffee Certification in Colombia

Abstract: According to advocates, eco-certification is a win–win solution to the problem of environmental degradation caused by developing country agriculture, improving both the environmental and the economic performance of farmers. However, these notional benefits can be undercut by the tendency of relatively wealthy farmers already meeting eco-certification standards to disproportionately participate.


Why Do Environmental Taxes Work Better in Developed Countries?

Abstract: We compare of  the  performance  of  emission  taxes  between  Colombia  and  Sweden in an experimental  setting  where  subjects are regulated  through  environmental  taxes  and  had  to decide on emission levels, compliance behavior, and adoption of an environmentally friendly technology.  Our  design  allows  us  to  analyze  the  role of variations  in  the  stringency  of  the policy  enforcement&nbsp


Cooperation and social classes: evidence from Colombia

Abstract: We investigate the relationship between social class belonging and contributions to local public goods. By utilizing the social class classifications in Colombia and an experimental design based on the strategy method, we can both study contributions to public goods and classify subjects into contribution types. We find similar contribution levels between high and medium-low social classes and also similar distributions of contributor types. However, low social class members conditionally contribute a significantly higher level than high social class members.


Direct and Indirect Effects of Extreme Weather Events and Potential Estimation Biases

The literature analyzing the effects of extreme weather events on social and economic outcomes has increased significantly in the last few years. Most of these analyses use either self-reported data about whether the storm affected the respondent or aggregated data such as precipitation at municipality level. We argue that these estimates might be biased due to the inclusion of households that are not directly affected but live close enough to be indirectly affected through economic or government assistance spillovers.


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.


Protected area types, strategies and impacts in Brazil's Amazon: public protected area strategies do not yield a consistent ranking of protected area types by impact

The leading policy to conserve forest is protected areas (PAs). Yet, PAs are not a single tool: land users and uses vary by PA type; and public PA strategies vary in the extent of each type and in the determinants of impact for each type, i.e. siting and internal deforestation. Further, across regions and time, strategies respond to pressures (deforestation and political). We estimate deforestation impacts of PA types for a critical frontier, the Brazilian Amazon.


Evaluating Interactions of Forest Conservation Policies on Avoided Deforestation

We estimate the effects on deforestation that have resulted from policy interactions between parks and payments and between park buffers and payments in Costa Rica between 2000 and 2005. We show that the characteristics of the areas where protected and unprotected lands are located differ significantly. Additionally, we find that land characteristics of each of the policies and of the places where they interact also differ significantly. To adequately estimate the effects of the policies and their interactions, we use matching methods.


Adaptive capacity, drought and the performance of community-based drinking water organizations in Costa Rica

Community-based drinking water organizations (CBDWOs) are the most important providers of water in rural areas of the developing world. They are responsible for coping with future threats due to climate change, besides other non-climatic drivers of change such as demographic growth. The inherent capacities of CBDWOs to adapt to external drivers of change would be greatly conditioned by their capacities to initiate and catalyze collective processes.


Risk management in agriculture: Ongoing studies with coffee farmers in Costa Rica affected by coffee leaf rust

The Economics and Environment for Development Research Program (EEfD) at CATIE is leading a series of studies on decision-making under risk. We address the issue of adaptation to climate change from the perspective of how farmers’ attitudes towards risk, affect the adoption of different adaptation strategies, including crop insurance demand, and in the light of the recent coffee rust epidemic in Central America.


Marine Protected Areas in Artisanal Fisheries: A Spatial Bio-economic Model Based on Observations in Costa Rica and Tanzania

In many lower-income countries, the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) involves significant opportunity costs for artisanal fishers, reflected in changes in how they allocate their labor in response to the MPA. The resource economics literature rarely addresses such labor allocation decisions of artisanal fishers and how, in turn, these contribute to the impact of MPAs on fish stocks, yield, and income.


Marine Protected Areas: Lessons from Costa Rica and Tanzania

Both Tanzania’s and Costa Rica’s beaches provide important nesting sites for endangered sea turtles. Poaching of eggs by local people for food or for sale presents a major threat to these species, as do other predators. This harvesting of eggs in MPAs, and throughout Costa Rica, remains illegal, but enforcement on long beaches proves difficult. Both countries have active organizations that attempt to reduce this poaching, sometimes involving moving nests.


A Contingent Valuation Approach to Estimating Regulatory Costs: Mexico’s Day Without Driving Program

Little is known about the cost of environmental regulations such as residential zoning restrictions and recycling mandates that target households instead of firms, partly because of significant methodological and data challenges. We use a survey-based approach, the contingent valuation method, to measure the costs of Mexico City’s Day Without Driving program, which seeks to stem pollution and traffic congestion by prohibiting vehicles from being driven one day each week.


Paper Park Performance: Mexico’s Natural Protected Areas in the 1990s

Although developing countries have established scores of new protected areas over the past three decades, they often amount to little more than “paper parks” that are chronically short of the financial, human, and technical resources needed for effective management. It is not clear whether and how severely under-resourced parks affect deforestation. In principle, they could either stem it by, for example, creating an expectation of future enforcement, or they could spur it by, for example, creating open access regimes.


The Effect of Hydro-Meteorological Emergencies on Internal Migration

We estimate the effect of hydro-meteorological emergencies on internal migration in Costa Rica during 1995–2000. We find that, on average, emergencies significantly increase average migration. However, we also find that emergencies with the most severe consequences, those with loss of lives, decrease migration. The severity of the consequences may explain the differences in the sign of the effect in previous research. We also find that emergencies significantly increase population in metropolitan areas. Less severe emergencies significantly increase migration toward metropolitan areas.


Targeted Scenario Analysis, A New Approach to Capturing and Presenting Ecosystem Service Values for Decision Makers

This guidebook provides a step-by-step introduction to Targeted Scenario Analysis (TSA), an innovative analytical approach, developed by UNDP that captures and presents the value of ecosystem services within decision making, to help make the business case for sustainable policy and investment choices.Through TSA, practitioners working with governments and private enterprises can generate and present data related to the management of ecosystems in a way that is more relevant to the choices facing a decision maker.


Spatial decisions and livelihoods of small-scale fisheries in Costa Rica

Small-scale fishing constitutes the main source of marine products and a central component of local livelihoods for poor families in coastal areas of Costa Rica. This country has been defining marine reserves, and fishermen are believed to be amongst the most prominent opponents of such policies, given the potential costs that entails the lost access of fishing areas of traditional use. However, it seems that this potential economic impact would depend on the livelihoods diversification, and the spatial definition of closures, among others.


Payments for environmental services do not have negative social effects on poverty in Costa Rica

Programs of payments for ecosystem services are policy instruments that compensate those who provide those services for the costs they incur. One of the most attractive characteristics of this type of programs is that they can increase the generation of ecosystem services while simultaneously reducing the negative economic and social costs that local people might face from land use restrictions.