Only One Tree from Each Seed? Environmental Effectiveness and Poverty Alleviation in Mexico's Payments for Ecosystem Services Program

Jennifer M. Alix-Garcia, Katharine R. E. Sims, Patricia Yañez-Pagans
2015 American Economic Journal: Economic Policy  
Environmental conditional cash transfers are popular but their impacts are not well understood. We evaluate land cover and wealth impacts of a federal program that pays landowners for protecting forest. Panel data for program beneficiaries and rejected applicants allows us to control for fixed differences and time trends affecting both groups. We find the program reduces the expected land cover loss by 40-51 percent and generates small but positive poverty alleviation. Environmental gains are
more » ... nmental gains are higher where poverty is low while household gains are higher where deforestation risk is low, illustrating the difficulty of meeting multiple policy goals with one tool. (JEL: Q28, Q56, Q58, I38, O13)
doi:10.1257/pol.20130139 fatcat:f5pda3vnpfezdfw264pgwvr6hm