Economic policies that boost profits from agroforesty, thereby creating financial incentives for land managers to favor these systems over less environmentally friendly land uses, could, in theory, have ancillary environmental benefits. This paper analyzes primary and secondary data to determine whether a voluntary price support program for Mexican coffee-mostly grown in shaded systems that supply important ecosystem services- has had such "win-win" benefits by stemming land-use change in the coffee sector.
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.
The author analyzes the role of environmental policies and energy cost savings in the switch to natural gas by stationary sources in Chile. There is skepticism about using market-based policies (economic instruments) in the developing world—permit trading programs versus emissions fees. This paper produces new evidence of the role of environmental regulations and market forces in a successful air-quality improvement program in Chile, a less-developed country.
The author looks at the effects of the choice between taxes and permits on the pattern of adoption of a new emissions abatement technology. The regulator determines the optimal ex-post amount of emissions before firms start to adopt the technology. Each firm decides when to adopt, considering benefits, costs, and advantage gained over their rivals, producing a sequence of adoption that is “diffused” into the industry over time.
Public disclosure programs that collect and disseminate information about firms’ environmental performance are increasingly popular in both developed and developing countries. Yet little is known about whether they actually improve environmental performance, particularly in the latter setting.
Research Fellows Juan Robalino and Roger Madrigal made an important contribution for the Inter-American Development Bank’s project called Quality of Life in Urban Neighborhoods in Costa Rica.
Little is known about land cover change in mixed agroforestry systems, which often supply valuable ecological services. The authors use a spatial regression model to analyze clearing in El Salvador’s shade coffee–growing regions during the 1990s.
A nature field experiment and a choice experiment of the payment system of voluntary contribution. Evidence from Cahuita National Park in Costa Rica.
The authors estimated the deforestation impact of Costa Rica’s pioneering environmental services payments program (Pagos por Servicios Ambientales, or PSA) between 2000 and 2005. Despite finding that less than 1 in 100 of enrolled land parcels would have been deforested annually without payments, the program’s potential for impact was increased by explicitly targeting areas with deforestation pressure and increasing some payments to enroll land that would have been cleared.
Adaptative design and management of a payment for ecosystem services scheme in Copan Ruinas, Honduras
This article presents a case study of development of a Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) program related to drinking water in the city of Copán Ruinas, Honduras. (Text in Spanish)
Does Context Matter More for Hypothetical Than for Actual Contributions? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment
Just how important social context is for voluntary contributions is investigated in a natural field experiment, where subjects made either actual or hypothetical contributions to a national park in Costa Rica.
Anonymity, Reciprocity and Conformity: Evidence from Voluntary Contributions to a Natural Park in Costa Rica
In a natural field experiment, the authors quantified the importance of anonymity, reciprocity, and conformity through the provision of social reference levels in order to explain voluntary contributions. In the study setting, the effects of the various treatments were small, suggesting that the self-image as an honorable person, irrespective of other people’s opinions, could be an important explanation of contribution behavior. The experiment overall showed no clear evidence that current practice by charitable organizations is inefficient.
A promising concept that has received considerable attention, Payment-for-ecosystems- services has the potential to become a conventional environmental management tool.
We evaluated the intention, implementation, and impact of Costa Rica’s program of payments for environmental services (PSA), which was established in the late 1990s. Payments are given to private landowners who own land in forest areas in recognition of the ecosystem services their land provides.
Anonymity, Reciprocity, and Conformity: Evidence from Voluntary Contributions to a National Park in Costa Rica
The purpose of this paper is to test the absolute as well as the relative importance of these three reasons for non-selfish behavior. This is done by conducting a natural field experiment on voluntary contributions to a national park in Costa Rica.
As part of the book Frontiers of Biodiversity Economics, Cambridge University Press, this chapter describes a model of interactions in the context of deforestation, based on an equilibrium in beliefs about the neighbours’ actions, and applies the model to data of two regions within Costa Rica.
Does context matter more for hypothetical than for actual contributions? Evidence from a natural field experiment
We investigate the importance of the social context for people’s voluntary contributions to a national park in Costa Rica, using a natural field experiment.
Global biofuels production is one of the topics that amply illustrates the complexity of harmonising the different variables of sustainable development. Pursuing environmental protection and implementing social standards, while assuring economic feasibility in industrial activities is vital for developing countries to compete in the global economy.
Land Conservation Policies and Income Distribution: Who Bears the Burden of our Environmental Efforts?
We analyze how land conservation policies affect income distribution looking at changes in wages and rents. Land conservation policies restrict the land for agricultural use. We study how these restrictions affect workers and landowners incomes. Aggregate rents rise when protected areas increase despite the reduction of land availability. Real wages decrease as a consequence of higher prices.
We exploited very detailed data on deforestation and roads investments over time to provide estimates of spatial spillovers from road investments in the Brazilian Amazon.
This paper seeks to provide the theoretical underpinnings for the optimal pricing of protected areas used in recreational activities, from the perspective of a local park agency interested in maximizing welfare.
We find, using survey-experimental methods, that most individuals are concerned with both relative income and relative consumption of particular goods. The degree of concern varies in the expected direction depending on the properties of the good.
This paper, examine why markets are being widely proposed to address environmental problems and manage natural resources, give some background on their history, and speculate on their future.
This chapter discusses the use of PES schemes as a suitable market-based instrument to achieve sustainable use and management of ecosystems regarded as important, due to their contribution to human welfare in its many expressions.
Assessing linkages between agriculture and biodiversity in Central America: Historical overview and future perspectives
The objective of this report is to explore the impact of agriculture on biodiversity conservation in Central America, identify the factors which perpetuate or exacerbate agricultural systems or management practices that adversely impact biodiversity conservation, and examine different strategies and approaches that could be used to potentially mitigate some of the negative impacts of agriculture on biodiversity conservation, either by making the agricultural systems more compatible with biodiversity conservation, or by removing the stimuli for agricultural expansion into remaining natural areas or unsustainable agricultural practices.
This paper presents an experimental study of two different pollution compliance games: collective vis-à-vis random fining as a means to regulate non-point pollution. Result suggests the importance of considering subject pool differences in the evaluation of environmental policies by means of experiments, particularly if those policies involve certain forms of management decisions.
Policy implications and analysis of the determinants of travel mode choice: an application of choice experiments to metropolitan Costa Rica
The main objective of thus study is to contribute to the design of policies dealing with the problems of congestion and air pollution in the urban context of a typical developing country.
Choice experiments are becoming ever more frequently applied to the valuation of non-market goods. The purpose of this paper is to give a detailed description of the steps involved in a choice experiment and to discuss the use of this method for valuing non-market goods.
This thesis consists of five papers dealing with fairly heterogeneous issues, based on the problems or topics analyzed, but also based on the methodologies used to approach them. The overriding motives are the design of environmental policies in the context of a typical developing country (where Costa Rica is used as a representative of such countries), and the study and application of techniques that can provide the necessary information for policy-making.
The health cost of high air pollution from vehicles in the Costa Rican capital of San José and its immediate surrounds runs to millions of dollars each year, according to new research from the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE).
Central America has more than 2.3 million families depending on agriculture and natural resources for their livelihoods, making them vulnerable to climate change risks such as rising temperatures, extreme events such as drought and flooding, and also crop diseases. Researchers associated with the Swedish-based Environment for Development (EfD) initiative are running an ecosystems-based adaptation project in Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica that supports smallholder farming communities in adapting to changing conditions. This project scales up the needs and opportunities of smallholders to promote changes in public policies at a regional level.
People in Central America’s rural areas will face a 20 percent decline of drinking water availability by 2050, estimates show. EfD researchers are now collecting information from 8 000 households in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Costa Rica. The primary aim is to map capabilities and obstacles for communities to adapt, and to provide community leaders tools and skills to respond to drier scenarios. EfD findings also support governmental adaptation policies.
Climate change poses a threat to reliable supplies of drinking water in rural areas. EfD Central America (CATIE) is working with rural communities in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua to develop solutions.
EfD researchers show that the Payments for Ecosystem Services program has no positive nor negative effects on people's income or jobs. And in the first three years of its implementation, the program had no effect on the deforestation rate. However, in the following five years, the program did slow down deforestation.
Payments for ecosystem services in Costa Rica: Does it matter who gets paid and why for the efficiency of payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs aimed to reduce deforestation and forest degradation? This is being studied by EfD Central America researchers.
This policy interaction provides clear examples of how research based results can be used to inform decision-making by government authorities.
A big sign made by EfD-Central America and CATIE provides information for visitors and the importance of donations to enter the Park.
ICAP Training Course in Costa Rica. From 19-28 March 2012. Applications deadline extended to 20 December 2011 (previously 15 December 2011).
Experts from around the world converge to discuss new approaches and policies for understanding the links between ecosystem services and evaluating the effects of agricultural development strategies and human well-being.
A highly selected interdisciplinary group of experts working on water and climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean met in Panama City, Panama from Thursday, September 29th to Saturday, October 1st, 2011.
Project will conduct socioeconomic studies of the links between water and climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean
The project seeks to promote capacity building for research, analysis and evaluation of the impacts of climate change and water, using the tools of environmental economics.
Arranca proyecto de estudios socioeconómicos de los vínculos entre agua y cambio climático en América Latina y el Caribe
Con el proyecto se busca promover la creación de capacidad de investigación, análisis y la evaluación del impacto del cambio climático y agua, utilizando las herramientas de la economía ambiental
Success in achievement. Congratulations!
Participants from Latin America and the Caribbean completed the Environmental and Resource Economics Training Course on Impact Evaluation by LACEEP at CATIE
The IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) will work to build capacity for and strengthen the use of science in policy making by linking the scientific community and policy makers. The workshop and assessments will take place in Tokyo, Japan from the 25 to 27 of July 2011.
EfD-CA at CATIE takes advantage of research synergies in institutional aspects of climate change, biodiversity, and water.
Why can some communities succeed in solving collective problems such as provision of drinking water while others fail? Róger Madrigal, EfD Research Fellow, conducted fieldwork in 41 Costa Rican rural villages in order to identify success and failure factors. He made a substantial effort to present the results in an accessible way to people from all the communities as well as to academic peers and high level policy makers.
“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.
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.