Evaluating policy impacts on tropical deforestation using the synthetic control method
Despite increased rigor in impact evaluations of conservation policies, it remains challenging to evaluate initiatives implemented in only a few selected jurisdictions, such as improvements in local environmental governance. Standard impact evaluation methods rely on large sample sizes, but we also need methods to evaluate pilot projects and innovations adapted to local conditions. The “synthetic control method” (SCM) was developed to address similar challenges in other policy domains. We argue that it is a potentially valuable tool for evaluating policy impacts on LULCC and illustrate with an application to a local initiative to reduce deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.
Erin Sills, PhD in Environmental Economics at Duke University professor and director of international programs at the Department of Forestry, University of North Carolina, currently visiting CATIE until July. Her areas of expertise include Economic Development and Forest Economy. Her research work is based on: The means of forest-based life and economic development; Deforestation and land use in the tropics; Assessing the impact of conservation policies.