Environment Department Papers

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These discussion papers are produced primarily by the Environment Department, on occasion jointly with other departments. Papers in this series are not formal publications of the World Bank. They are circulated to encourage thought and discussion. The use and citation of this paper should take this into account. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the World Bank.

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    Impacts of Conservation Incentives in Protected Areas: The Case of Bolsa Floresta, Brazil
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-11) Cisneros, Elias ; Borner, Jan ; Pagiola, Stefano ; Wunder, Sven
    Incentive-based conservation is a promising approach to tropical forest conservation, including within multiple-use protected areas. Here we analyze the environmental impacts of Bolsa Floresta, a longstanding forest conservation program combining conditional household payments with livelihood-focused investments in 15 multiple-use reserves of Amazonas State, Brazil. We use grid-based data, nearest-neighbor matching, and panel data econometrics to compare forest-related program outcomes (deforestation, degradation, fires) with non-participating reserves. While post-treatment deforestation and degradation was negligible, this was already the case pre-treatment, since low-threat reserves had preferentially been targeted. We thus find only statistically insignificant additional conservation effects from implementation. No important heterogeneous treatment effects could be detected either. Our findings thus add to the growing evidence that spatial mis-targeting towards low-hanging fruits, that is disproportionally selecting low-threat forest conservation areas into programs, constitutes a prime cause for low additionality found in rigorous impact evaluations of incentive-based forest conservation initiatives.
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    Do They Do As They Say?: Stated versus Revealed Preferences and Take Up in an Incentives for Conservation Program
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-06) De Martino, Samantha ; Kondylis, Florence ; Pagiola, Stefano ; Zwager, Astrid
    Use of conditional cash transfers has become widespread in development policy given their success in boosting health and education outcomes. Recently, conditional cash transfers are being used to promote pro-environmental behavior. While many of these Payments for Environment Services (PES) programs have been successful, it has been hypothesized that those with less favorable outcomes have been subject to low additionality, whereby landholders already conserving their land self-select into the program. Insights from the behavioral economics literature suggest that an external incentive, such as PES, has the potential to crowd in or crowd out individual behavior differentially across the initial distribution of intrinsic motivations (Frey, 1992). Thus, to increase the impact of PES, program administrators might gain from a better understanding of both the pre-existing motivations and existing baseline conservation behavior of potential participants. This paper contributes to the literature by disentangling and measuring intrinsic motivations, specifically: Pro-Environment, Pro-Social, Pro-Government, and Social Norms. Controlling for observable opportunity costs, we use these latent motivations to analyze behavioral determinants of take up for a conservation program in São Paulo, Brazil. The payments are an incentive to comply with the Brazil Forest Code. We find that Pro-Social and Pro-Environment landholders are both more likely to be conserving private land not under legal protection before the program is introduced, whereas only Pro-Social landholders are already conserving land under legal protection. With respect to enrollment in the PES program, we find Pro-Social landholders are less likely to enroll while Pro-Environment landholders are more likely to enroll. Thus we expect some level of additionality from the PES program. We discuss these findings in light of the theoretical framework on Self-Determination Theory (SDT).