This paper by multiple authors – published in the International Journal of the Commons – won the journal’s Ostrom Memorial Award for Most Innovative Paper of the Year. The authors use a unique longitudinal dataset of forest policy in 100 municipalities in Bolivia to examine the relationships between citizen pressures and economic incentives on forest policy.
Efforts to promote forest conservation have focused on two separate types of policy reforms. Decentralization reforms have attempted to make local forest governance more accountable to demands from voters. Meanwhile, Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes like the REDD program (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) have sought to use economic incentives to promote conservation. These programs make different assumptions about the incentives most likely to work in forest conservation. Decentralization reforms assume that citizen pressures on politicians will encourage conservation, while PES approaches assume that an economic incentive—money—is the best approach. Which type of incentive works best in settings with weak institutions? Here, using a unique longitudinal dataset of forest policy in 100 Bolivian municipalities, we examine the relationships between citizen pressures and economic incentives on forest policy. We find that both types of incentives are positively and significantly associated with government investments in forest conservation, and that the magnitudes of these relationships are similar. Further, we find that economic incentives may be especially effective at promoting conservation where citizen pressures are weak or absent.
VIEW/DOWNLOAD: What incentivises local forest conservation efforts?
Ostrom Memorial Award Winners Gallery
Past winners of The International Journal of the Commons’ Ostrom Memorial Award for Most Innovative Paper of the Year:
2014: Ivo Baur, Karina Liechti, and Claudia Rebecca Binder: Why do individuals behave differently in commons dilemmas? The case of alpine farmers using common property pastures in Grindelwald, Switzerland
2013: Graham Epstein, Jessica M Vogt, Sarah K Mincey, Michael Cox, and Burney Fischer: Missing ecology: integrating ecological perspectives with the social-ecological system framework
2012: Anne M. Larson, Jadder Lewis-Mendoza: Decentralisation and devolution in Nicaragua’s North Atlantic autonomous region: Natural resources and indigenous peoples’ rights
The award is voted on by the journal’s editorial board.