PENSEE

Payments for ENvironmental Services: an Evidence-based Evaluation

ANR-16-

Abstract 

In order to strike the right balance between agriculture and the environment, policymakers in both developed and developing countries are increasingly resorting to Payments for Environmental Services (PES). PESs are contracts between a farmer and the government in which the farmer receives a payment in exchange for the adoption of greener practices. PES programs usually aim to tackle major current environmental issues but can be expensive. It is thus critical to provide credible evaluations of their effectiveness. Yet, evidence on their impact remains scarce. This project aims to fill this gap by using modern econometric methods, such as experimental and quasi-experimental techniques, to provide the first evidence-based evaluations ever made for a series of agri-environmental programs in France and in Brazil.

The work is organized around four main studies.

Project #1 is an impact evaluation of the French pesticide use reduction program.This project is a quasi-experimental impact evaluation of the French pesticide use reduction program, using data provided by the French Department of Statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Project #2 -- “Nudging” winegrowers to reduce pesticide use: a behavioural approach -- is a randomized impact evaluation of a pilot pesticide use reduction program based on non-monetary incentives. The implementation will be run in collaboration with the regional network of site operators in charge of the implementation of the French agro-environmental scheme in Languedoc-Roussillon.
Project #3 is an impact evaluation of the French grassland conservation program.This project is a quasi-experimental impact evaluation of the French PES schemes, using data provided by the French Department of Statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Project #4 is an impact evaluation of a pilot REDD+ project in the Trans-Amazonian region in Brazil. In this project, we use the introduction of the first PES-based REDD+ project ever launched in Brazil by a Non-Governmental Organization in the region of Para in 2012 as a natural experiment in order to evaluate the long-run impact of this PES project. In particular, we focus the permanence of the effects of this REDD+ project by collecting additional data from the same sample, about three years after the PES program starts. This will be done in close collaboration with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), as part of its Global Comparative Study (GCS) on REDD+, and with the Brazilian non-governmental organization in charge of the implementation of the PES program, the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM).

The originality of the PENSEE project is twofold. First, we tackle the central issue of the sustainable management of natural resources in a series of empirical studies. Indeed, our project builds on and extends the literature on PES evaluation by providing the first evidence-based evaluations ever made for a series of PES-based programs in France and in Brazil.
Second, we will provide original empirical results by using experimental and quasi-experimental evaluation approaches, such as difference-in-differences, regression discontinuity and randomized controlled trial techniques. These approaches have been used extensively in recent years and have permitted credible inferences about the impacts of a wide range of relations, but very rarely about the impact of PES on agricultural practices and environmental outcomes. Our project will fill this gap.


Project : 01/2017 – 01/2021

 

Contact in TSE : Sylvain Chabé Ferret