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Central America

2015-03-25

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.

2014-12-10

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.

2014-12-10

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.

2014-10-08

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.

2014-10-08

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.       

2014-08-15

The Environment for Development Initiative: lessons learned in research, academic capacity building and policy intervention to manage resources for sustainable growth

This article reviews the history of the Environment for Development (EfD) initiative, its activities in capacity building and policy-oriented research, and case studies at its centres in Chile, China, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania.

2014-07-21

Child Labor, the Wealth Paradox, and Common Forest Management in Bolivia

That wealthier developing country households may rely more heavily on child labor than poorer households has come to be known as the “wealth paradox.” This paper tests for a wealth paradox with regard to common natural resource wealth by analyzing the relationship between child labor and improved common property forest management (CPFM) in Bolivia.

2014-07-01

Does Tourism Eco-Certification Pay? Costa Rica’s Blue Flag Program

According to advocates, eco-certification can stem environmental damages from tourism in developing countries. Yet we know little about tourism operators’ economic incentives to get certified. To help fill that gap, we use detailed panel data to analyze the Blue Flag beach certification program in Costa Rica where nature-based tourism has caused significant environmental damage. We use new hotel investment to proxy for private benefits, and fixed effects and propensity score matching to control for self-selection bias.

2014-06-30

It took thousands of turtles

Crafting a set of rules and incentives for the local community in Ostional National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR), one of the few places in the world where sea turtles come ot nest in massive number.

2014-06-19

Protected areas and economic welfare: an impact evaluation of national parks on local workers’ wages in Costa Rica

The number of protected areas around the world has significantly increased. However, the effects of this policy on the wellbeing of local households are still under debate. Using pre-treatment characteristics and household surveys with highly disaggregated geographic reference, we explore how national parks affect the wages of local workers in Costa Rica.

2013-12-31

Targeted Scenario Analysis: A New Approach to Capturing and Presenting Ecosystem Service Values for Decision Making

In this guidebook, EfD Central America Director and Senior Research Fellow Francisco Alpizar together with Andrew Bovarnick provide 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. This guidebook discusses the five steps that comprise a TSA. These steps include:

2013-12-29

The Effect of Hydro-meteorological Emergencies on Internal Migration

We estimate the effect of hydro-meteorological emergencies on internal migration in Costa Rica between 1995 and 2000. Nationwide, we find that an increase of one emergency in a canton significantly increases average migration rates from that canton, after controlling for several social, economic, climatic and demographic factors in both the canton of origin and destination.

2013-12-05

Reputation and Household Recycling Practices

Pro-environmental behavior is the willingness to cooperate and contribute to environmental public goods. A good understanding of why individuals undertake pro-environmental actions is important in order to construct policies that are aligned with preferences and actual behavioral patterns, such as concern for social esteem and reputation.

2013-11-26

Public perceptions of the performance of community-based drinking water organizations in Costa Rica

This paper analyses the underlying factors affecting people’s satisfaction with drinking water provided by community-based organizations in rural Costa Rica. These organizations provide water to more than 60% of the country’s rural population, but there is great disparity in the quality of water provided. Using a Generalized Ordered Logit regression and data from 41 villages, we studied how characteristics of the water supply infrastructure, the governance structure, and the attributes of local people affect consumers’ perception of water quality at home.

2013-10-20

Behavioral Spillovers from Targeted Incentives: Losses from Excluded Individuals Can Counter Gains from Those Selected

Incentives conditioned on socially desired acts such as donating blood, departing conflict or mitigating climate change have increased in popularity. Many incentives are targeted, excluding some of the potential participants based upon characteristics or prior actions. We hypothesize that pro-sociality is reduced by exclusion, in of itself (i.e., fixing prices and income), and that the rationale for exclusion influences such 'behavioral spillovers'. 

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.

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