Daan van Soest (Tilburg University) is presenting at the VCEE Seminar

Daan van Soest talks about "Incentivizing conservation of de facto community-owned forests" on Nov 12, 2021 at 10.30am.

"Incentivizing conservation of de facto community-owned forests", with Guigonan Serge Adjognon and Eline van der Heijden

How to effectively protect nature on lands that are, de facto or de jure, commonly owned – as is the case with the vast majority of forests in developing countries – is among today’s most important environmental questions. Offering conditional conservation payments have been found to be effective in inducing conservation on private lands, but they may give rise to strong free-riding incentives on common property lands. We implement a Randomized Controlled Trial in arid Burkina Faso to test the relative effectiveness of two types of collective conditional payment schemes – a linear group payment scheme, in which group payments increase linearly with tree survival rates, and a threshold group payment scheme. While extant theory predicts the latter incentive mechanism to (weakly) outperform the former, we develop new theory that shows that the reverse may also hold – but only if the relationship between effort and tree survival rates is very uncertain. We find that threshold group payments increase intermediate measures of cooperation, but we also find that – consistent with Burkina Faso’s harsh conditions rendering tree survival quite stochastic – actual survival rates are higher with the linear group payments. We present both field experimental evidence as well as lab-experimental results to explore the mechanisms giving rise to these results.