Modeling Participation in Payments for Ecosystem Services Programs: A Discrete Choice Model of Participation in REDD+

EPA Grant Number: F13B21473
Title: Modeling Participation in Payments for Ecosystem Services Programs: A Discrete Choice Model of Participation in REDD+
Investigators: Behrer, Arnold Patrick
Institution: Harvard University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: August 1, 2014 through August 1, 2016
Project Amount: $42,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2013) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Resource Economics


REDD+ programs have the potential to increase human welfare and reduce the contribution that deforestation makes to global carbon emissions. It will only do so, however, if individuals participate in the programs. The objective of this project is to identify the features of programs that make individuals more likely to participate.


The research will take place in the context of nine REDD+ pilot programs in Tanzania. These programs have been put into place by different conservation nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and each has distinct program features, allowing an examination of how the individual program features interact with village- and individual-level characteristics to determine participation. Data will be collected from the NGOs on their individual program features and combined with socioeconomic data from the villages and individuals that have chosen to participate. This combined data set can then be fed into a discrete choice econometric model to tease out the effects of changes in specific programmatic elements relative to the mean level of base characteristics.

Expected Results:

Previous research on conservation programs indicates that payments must cover the opportunity cost of participation. This cost varies greatly as the distance from main cities increases. As a result, programs that target financing at villages at greater distance from main cities are likely to have the highest participation levels. However, the distance from cities also increases the importance of in-kind benefits as access to standard markets declines. Therefore, the most successful programs are likely to be those that create an effective mix of monetary and in-kind payments to participants and are able to target these payments to areas outside of major cities.

Potential to Further Environmental/Human Health Protection

REDD+ is important in its own right but it also serves as a model for other PES programs. If a framework for success in creating general PES programs can be developed based on this research, it will greatly expand effectiveness of PES programs. This, in turn, should generate greater environmental conservation and a more secure supply of natural capital.

Supplemental Keywords:

deforestation, ecosystem services, REDD+

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2015
  • Final