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Central America

2011-05-27

Conditional Cash Transfers and Payments for Environmental Services: A Conceptual Framework for Explaining and Judging Differences in Outcomes

Despite the recent popularity of conditional cash transfers (CCT) and payments for environmental services (PES) programs, what determines their success is not well understood. We developed a conceptual framework to give insight into some of the main determinants of CCT and PES program efficiency that hope to increase investments in human and environmental capital.

2011-05-23

Choice Experiments in Enviromental Impact Assessment: The Toro 3 Hydroelectric Project and the Recreo Verde Tourist Center in Costa Rica

Choice experiments, a stated preference valuation method, are proposed as a tool to assign monetary values to environmental externalities during the ex-ante stages of environmental impact assessment. This case study looks at the impacts of the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity’s Toro 3 hydroelectric project and its affects on the Recreo Verde tourism center in San Carlos, Costa Rica.

2011-02-10

Including Carbon Emissions from Deforestation in the Carbon Footprint of Beef

Effects of land use changes are starting to be included in estimates of life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, so-called carbon footprints (CFs), from food production. Their omission can lead to serious underestimates, particularly for meat. Here we estimate emissions from the conversion of forest to pasture in the Legal Amazon Region (LAR) of Brazil and present a model to distribute the emissions from deforestation over products and time subsequent to the land use change.

2010-11-29

To trade or Not to Trade: A Firm-Level Analysis of Emissions Trading in Santiago, Chile

The authors surveyed firms participating in emissions trading programs in Santiago, Chile, to explore further whether tradable permits are appropriate for transition and developing economies. Their survey information revealed serious implementation and design flaws in Chile’s trading, but they are not more severe than the EU or U.S. systems. Countries with similar income levels and institutional maturity as Chile should be able to develop well-functioning permit trading schemes.

2010-11-29

Tradable Permits in Developing Countries: Evidence from Air Pollution in Santiago, Chile

Santiago was one of the first cities outside the OECD to implement a tradable permit program to control air pollution. This paper looks closely at the program’s performance over the past 10 years, stressing its similarities and discrepancies with trading programs in developed countries, and analyzing how it has reacted to regulatory adjustments and market shocks. Studying Santiago’s experience allows us to discuss the drawbacks and advantages of applying tradable permits in less developed countries.

2010-10-24

Fuel tax incidence in developing countries: The case of Costa Rica

We use household survey data and income-outcome coefficients to analyze fuel tax incidence in Costa Rica. We find that the effect of a 10 percent fuel price hike through direct spending on gasoline would be progressive, its effect through spending on diesel—both directly and via bus transportation—would be regressive (mainly because poorer households rely heavily on buses), and its effect through spending on goods other than fuel and bus transportation would be relatively small, albeit regressive. Finally, we find that although the overall effect of a 10 percent fuel price hike through all types of direct and indirect spending would be slightly regressive, the magnitude of this combined effect would be modest. We conclude that distributional concerns need not rule out using fuel taxes to address pressing public health and safety problems, particularly if gasoline and diesel taxes can be differentiated.

2010-09-29

Costa Rican transport policies: a stakeholder analysis

Costa Rica’s transport sector contributes to the aggravation of problems such as air pollution, vehicular congestion and traffic accidents that mainly affect the country’s urban areas. In this analysis, stakeholders associated with a key set of transport policies are identified and their roles in current and future policymaking are assessed.

2010-06-05

The Evidence Base for Environmental and Socioeconomic Impacts of “Sustainable” Certification

Initiatives certifying that farms and firms adhere to predefined environmental and social welfare production standards are increasingly popular. According to proponents, they create financial incentives for farms and firms to improve their environmental and socioeconomic performance. This paper reviews the evidence on whether sustainable certification of agricultural commodities and tourism operations actually has such benefits.

2010-03-26

Paying the Price of Sweetening Your Donation: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment

Using a natural field experiment in a recreational site, a public good almost fully dependent on voluntary donations, the authors explored the crowding-out effect of gift rewards. First, they investigated whether receiving a map in appreciation of a donation crowded out prosocial behavior and found no significant effect of giving the map. Second, they explored the effect of adding the map to a treatment designed to increase donations. Interestingly, when the gift was combined with their attempt to trigger reputational and self image motives, the probability of donating decreased significantly, compared to the social reference treatment alone.

2010-03-18

Research-policy dialogue improves drinking water management

“To do high-quality research, you need to find out what policy makers need and nurture the interaction,” says Maria Angelica Naranjo, EfD researcher in Central America. Her research colleagues Roger Madrigal and Francisco Alpízar are exploring why some Costa Rican communities are successful in drinking water management while others are not. Policy makers and local communities are already using some of the researchers’ recommendations to bring change.

2010-03-18

Research helps save Costa Rica’s beaches

Unplanned, aggressive coastal development is threatening beautiful beaches. To help address one of Costa Rica’s most serious environmental problems, researchers from the Environment for Development initiative (EfD) are evaluating the performance and impact of a voluntary environmental regulation and certification initiative called the Blue Flag Ecological Program.

2010-03-12

The effects of national parks on local communities’ wages and employment in Costa Rica

Despite of the clear global environmental benefits of increasing the amount of protected areas, how these conservation policies affect the well being of individuals in nearby localities is still under debate. Using household surveys with highly disaggregated geographic reference, this study explores how national parks have affected wages and unemployment in Costa Rica for the period 2000-2007.

2009-11-09

To trade or Not to Trade: A Firm-Level Analysis of Emissions Trading in Santiago, Chile

The authors surveyed firms participating in emissions trading programs in Santiago, Chile, to explore further whether tradable permits are appropriate for transition and developing economies. Their survey information revealed serious implementation and design flaws in Chile’s trading, but they are not more severe than the EU or U.S. systems. Countries with similar income levels and institutional maturity as Chile should be able to develop well-functioning permit trading schemes.

2009-10-15

Distributional equity of fuel tax in Costa Rica

Perhaps current prices of fossil fuels are the reflection of the hurricane's eye passing through the global markets. Before exorbitant oil prices again steal all the attention, it is important to analyze our policies on public and private transport management in general. And in particular fuel tax policies, which is here discussed by Francisco Alpizar, Rebecca Osakwe and Allen Blackman.

2009-09-21

The Effect of Risk, Ambiguity, and Coordination on Farmers´Adaptation to Climate Change: A Framed Field Experiment

The authors used a framed field experiment with coffee farmers in Costa Rica after tropical storm Alma to explore how farmers react to different levels of risk to income and productive means from extreme weather under measurable and unmeasurable uncertainty. They also examined whether investment costs to reduce vulnerability exhibit economies of scope.

2009-09-21

Conditional Cooperation and Social Group: Experimental Results from Colombia

There is growing interest in understanding whether behavior is the same across locations. By holding cross- and within-country dimensions constant (in contrast to previous studies on cross-group comparisons of conditional cooperation), the authors investigated cooperative behavior between social groups in the same location. Their results reveal significantly different cooperation behavior, suggesting that different social groups exhibit differences both in terms of composition of types and extent of conditional cooperation.

2009-06-09

Alternative Pollution Control Policies in Developing Countries: Informal, Informational, and Voluntary

In developing countries, weak environmental regulatory institutions often undermine conventional command-and-control policies. As a result, these countries are increasingly experimenting with alternative approaches that aim to leverage nonregulatory “green” pressures applied by local communities, capital markets, and consumers. This article reviews three strands of the empirical literature on this trend.

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