Simple incentives and group dependence for successful payments for ecosystem services programs: evidence from an experimental game in rural Lao PDR

Salk C, Lopez M-C, & Wong G (2017). Simple incentives and group dependence for successful payments for ecosystem services programs: evidence from an experimental game in rural Lao PDR. Conservation Letters 10 (4): 414-421. DOI:10.1111/conl.12277.

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Abstract

In this paper, we use a new game-based tool to evaluate the immediate and longer-term behavioral change potential of three different payment for environmental services (PES) delivery mechanisms: direct payments for individual performance, direct payments for group performance and insurance. Results from four rural shifting-cultivation dependent communities in Lao PDR suggest that easily understood group-oriented incentives yield the greatest immediate resource-use reduction and experience less free-riding. Group-based incentives may succeed because they motivate participants to communicate about strategies and coordinate their actions and are perceived as fair. No incentive had a lasting effect after it ceased, but neither did any crowd out the participants’ baseline behavior. Temporary reductions in resource dependence may provide a buffer for development of new livelihoods and longer-term change. Games like the one developed here can help policymakers appropriately target environmental incentive programs to local contexts and teach program participants how incentive schemes work.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: experimental games;forest;incentives;Laos;payments for environmental services; REDD; shifting cultivation; swidden
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Depositing User: Romeo Molina
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2016 09:35
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2017 09:43
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/13347

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