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Economics and Environment for Development Research Program

Recent publications


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.


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.