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Central America

2013-10-20

Effects of Exclusion from a Conservation Policy: Negative Behavioral Spillovers from Targeted Incentives

A critical issue in the design of incentive mechanisms is the choice of whom to target. For forests, the leading schemes: [i] target locations with high ecosystem-service density; [ii] target additionality, i.e., locations where conservation would not occur without the incentive; or, at least effectively, [iii] reward previous private choices to conserve forest. We use a field experiment to examine the changes in contributions to forest conservation when we introduce each of those three selection rules.

2013-08-01

Ecopayments and Deforestation in Costa Rica: A Nationwide Analysis of PSA’s Initial Years

We offer a nationwide analysis of the initial years of Costa Rica’s PSA program, which pioneered environmental-services payments and inspired similar initiatives. Our estimates of this program’s impact on deforestation, between 1997 and 2000, range from zero to one-fifth of 1% per year (i.e., deforestation is avoided on, at most, 2 out of every 1,000 enrolled hectares). The main explanation for such a low impact is an already low national deforestation rate. We also consider the effect of enrollment.

2013-05-31

Dynamics of indirect land-use change: Empirical evidence from Brazil

The expansion of a given land use may affect deforestation directly if forests are cleared to free land for this use, or indirectly, via the displacement of other land-use activities from non-forest areas towards the forest frontier. Unlike direct land conversion, indirect land-use changes affecting deforestation are not immediately observable. They require the linking of changes occurring in different regions.

2013-03-01

Governance, Location and Avoided Deforestation from Protected Areas: Greater Restrictions Can Have Lower Impact, Due to Differences in Location

For Acre, in the Brazilian Amazon, we find that protection types with differences in governance, including different constraints on local economic development, also differ in their locations. Taking this into account, we estimate the deforestation impacts of these protection types that feature different levels of restrictions. To avoid bias, we compare these protected locations with unprotected locations that are similar in their characteristics relevant for deforestation.

2013-01-26

What makes them follow the rules? Empirical evidence from turtle egg harvesters in Costa Rica

Empirical analysis of the factors that determine individual compliance with a locally devised set of rules for harvesting and selling marine turtle eggs, as well as for protecting the turtles and their hatchlings. Rules violators receive a monetary penalty, which implies a reduction in the income from sale of eggs. While some individuals do not have income reductions due to infractions, others have reductions of up to 40% of the total income.

2012-11-09

Does eco-certification have environmental benefits? Organic coffee in Costa Rica

Eco-certification of coffee, timber and other high-value agricultural commodities is increasingly widespread. In principle, it can improve commodity producers' environmental performance, even in countries where state regulation is weak. But eco-certification will have limited environmental benefits if, as one would expect, it disproportionately selects for producers already meeting certification standards.

2012-07-23

Payments for environmental services in Costa Rica: from Rio to Rio and beyond

Costa Rica has shown how a small developing country can reverse environmental degradation and one of the highest deforestation rates in Latin America. Key to its achievement has been the country’s PES programme, which began in 1997 and which many countries are now looking to learn from, especially as water markets and schemes to reward forest conservation and reduced deforestation (REDD+) grow.

2012-01-15

Experimentos de Campo y Economía del Desarrollo

En el capítulo trata los experimentos de campo en el marco de la economía del desarrollo. A pesar de que el grueso de nuestra experiencia y la mayoría de nuestros ejemplos provienen de América Latina, hemos tratado de preparar un texto cuya aplicabilidad trascienda este contexto geográfico.

2011-12-21

Ecotourism and the development of indigenous communities: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

A large part of the literature analyzing the links between biodiversity conservation and community development assumes that nature-based tourism managed by indigenous communities will result not only in conservation of natural resources but also in increased development. In practice, ecotourism has often failed to deliver the expected benefits to indigenous communities due to a combination of factors, including shortages in the endowments of human, financial and social capital within the community, lack of mechanisms for a fair distribution of the economic benefits of ecotourism, and land insecurity.

2011-11-30

What Drives Voluntary Eco-Certification in Mexico?

Advocates claim that voluntary programs can help shore up poorly performing command-and-control environmental regulation in developing countries. Although literature on this issue is quite thin, research on voluntary environmental programs in industrialized countries suggests that they are sometimes ineffective because they mainly attract relatively clean plants free-riding on prior pollution control investments.

2011-11-09

Producer-level Benefits of Sustainability Certification

Initiatives certifying that producers of goods and services adhere to defined environmental and social-welfare production standards are increasingly popular. According to proponents, these initiatives create financial incentives for producers to improve their environmental, social, and economic performance. We reviewed the evidence on whether these initiatives have such benefits.

2011-11-06

Should we tax or let firms trade emissions? An experimental analysis with policy implications for developing countries

In this paper we use laboratory experiments to test the theoretical predictions derived by Villegas-Palacio and Coria (2010) about the effects of the interaction between technology adoption and incomplete enforcement. They show that under Tradable Emissions Permits (TEPs), and in contrast to taxes, the fall in permit price produced by adoption of environmentally friendly technologies reduces the benefits of violating the environmental regulation at the margin and leads firms to improve their compliance behavior. Moreover, when TEPs are used, the regulator can speed up the diffusion of new technologies since the benefits from adopting the new technology increase with the enforcement stringency.

2011-10-25

The Quality of Life in Urban Neighborhoods in Costa Rica

This paper considers valuation of amenities in urban neighborhoods and satisfaction with those neighborhoods and life in general. First, rents are used to estimate the price of neighborhood amenities in San Jose, which explains 39% of the standardized variation of rents. Some districts rank very high in housing characteristics but poorly in neighborhood amenities, while others rank poorly in housing characteristics but high in neighborhood amenities, suggesting that indirect policy measures might reduce inequality in urban areas by improving neighborhood amenities. Second, the paper explores differences in the valuation of amenities by calculating prices in different urban areas. In more sparsely populated urban areas, distance to national parks becomes less important, but distance to primary roads becomes more important. Finally, housing and safety satisfaction represent the key components of life satisfaction.

2011-10-25

Measuring the Effectiveness of Protected Area Networks in Reducing Deforestation: A Rigorous Impact Evaluation Approach

Global efforts to reduce tropical deforestation rely heavily on the establishment of protected areas. Measuring the effectiveness of these areas is difficult because the amount of deforestation that would have occurred in the absence of legal protection cannot be directly observed. Conventional methods of evaluating the effectiveness of protected areas can be biased because protection is not randomly assigned and because protection can induce deforestation spillovers (displacement) to neighboring forests. We demonstrate that estimates of effectiveness can be substantially improved by controlling for biases along dimensions that are observable, measuring spatial spillovers, and testing the sensitivity of estimates to potential hidden biases.

2011-10-25

Park Location Affects Forest Protection: Land Characteristics Cause Differences in Park Impacts across Costa Rica

To support conservation planning, we ask whether a park's impact on deforestation rates varies with observable land characteristics that planners could use to prioritize sites. Using matching methods to address bias from non-random location, we find deforestation impacts vary greatly due to park lands' characteristics. Avoided deforestation is greater if parks are closer to the capital city, in sites closer to national roads, and on lower slopes. In allocating scarce conservation resources, policy makers may consider many factors such as the ecosystem services provided by a site and the costs of acquiring the site. Pfaff and Sanchez 2004 claim impact can rise with a focus upon threatened land, all else equal. We provide empirical support in the context of Costa Rica's renowned park system. This insight, alongside information on eco-services and land costs, should guide investments.

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