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Research to manage the Environment for Development

Recent publications


Recency and projection biases in air quality valuation by Chinese residents

We combine survey responses to subjective well-being (SWB) questions with air pollution data to recover Chinese residents' valuation of air quality improvements. Motivated by theoretical models of ‘projection bias’ and ‘recency bias’, we posit that one's SWB (and valuation) is affected disproportionately by more recent experiences with air pollution, even though long-term air pollution is more detrimental to one's actual well-being.


China's second round of forest reforms: Observations for China and implications globally

This paper provides an overview of recent forest tenure reform in rural China and a summary of findings from a series of surveys and research papers. The research papers cover several broad themes, including the impacts of enhanced policy stability, expanded farmer household forestland holding, and longer contract periods as well as a richer bundle of tenure rights, on farmers willingness to invest in money terms and labor inputs in forestry activities.


Livelihood mushroomed: Examining household level impacts of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) under new management regime in China's state forests

Finding alternative livelihood possibility for state worker households is crucial for the successful implementation of Natural Forest Protection Program (NFPP) in China's key state forest regions. One local innovation to implement NFPP while allowing worker households alternative use of forestland is the “Contract Management Responsibility System (CMRS)”. Under CMRS, participating households have exclusive rights to harvest and grow non-timber forest products (NTFP) while fulfilling forest protection responsibility.


Measuring Trust in Institutions

In empirical studies, survey questions are typically used to measure trust; trust games are also used to measure interpersonal trust. In this paper, we measure trust in different institutions by using both trust games and survey questions. We find that generalized trust is only weakly correlated with trust in specific institutions, when elicited both by using a trust game and by using survey questions. However, the correlation between trust in a specific institution elicited through a trust game and stated trust for the same institution is stronger and statistically significant.


Determination of optimal rotation period for management of lumbering forests in Kenya

This study estimates the optimal rotation period of various tree species in Kenya and applies it in the management of lumbering forests through optimal synchronization of forest plantations to achieve a steady supply to lumbering firms. The optimal rotation period of three tree species, pine, cypress, and eucalyptus, was estimated using data from Kenya Forest Service. A combined application of Chang simple production model and ​ Faustmann​ model​ reveals the optimal biological harvest age is 25 years for pine, 25 years for cypress, and 14 years for eucalyptus.


Recreational value and optimal pricing of national parks: lessons from Maasai Mara in Kenya

This paper estimates the recreational value and optimal pricing for recreation services in the Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya. To achieve this objective, data from 323 Park visitors were collected. Single-site individual travel cost method (ITCM) using count data models [zero truncated Poisson (ZTP), zero truncated negative binomial (ZTNB), negative binomial with endogenous stratification (NBSTRAT), and Poisson with endogenous stratification (PSTRAT)] was applied.


Prospect Theory and Tenure Reform: Impacts on Forest Management

We examine the role of risk and time preferences in how forest owners respond to forest certification. We test hypotheses from a two-period harvest model derived from prospect theory in the context of Fujian, China, where new forest certification started in 2003. Using survey and field experiment data, we find that certification resulted in reduced harvesting, and the effect was larger for households who are more risk averse and exhibited distorted probability weighting.


Weather Shocks and Spatial Market Efficiency: Evidence from Mozambique

The aim of this paper is to study the association between weather shocks (droughts and floods) and agricultural market performance in Mozambique. To do so, we employ a dyadic regression analysis on monthly maize prices, transport costs, and spatial identification of markets as well as droughts and flooded areas. Our estimates show that, while a drought reduces price differences between markets, price dispersion increases during flood periods, an effect that is mainly driven by increases in transport costs.


Inequality and the Biosphere

Rising inequalities and accelerating global environmental change pose two of the most pressing challenges of the twenty-first century. To explore how these phenomena are linked, we apply a social-ecological systems perspective and review the literature to identify six different types of interactions (or “pathways”) between inequality and the biosphere. We find that most of the research so far has only considered one-directional effects of inequality on the biosphere, or vice versa.


Direct and Spillover Effects of a Social Information Campaign on Residential Water-Savings

This paper investigates direct and spillover effects of a social information campaign aimed at encouraging residential water savings in Colombia. The campaign was organized as a randomized field experiment, consisting of monthly delivery of consumption reports, including normative messages, for one year. Results indicate that social information and appeals to norm-based behavior reduce water use by up to 6.8% in households directly targeted by the campaign.