Department of Political Science
Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado, Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|January 2013||Payment for Environmental Services: Hypotheses and Evidence|
with Lee J. Alston, Steven M. Smith: w18740
The use of Payment for Environmental Services (PES) is not a new type of contract but they have become more in vogue because of the potential for sequestering carbon by paying to prevent deforestation and degradation of forest lands. We provide a framework utilizing transaction costs to hypothesize which services are more likely to be provided effectively. We then interpret the literature on PES programs to see the extent to which transaction costs vary as predicted across the type of service and assess the performance of PES programs. As predicted we find that transaction costs are the least for club goods like water and greatest for pure public goods like carbon reduction. Actual performance is difficult to measure and varies across the examples. More work and experimentation is needed...
Published: Lee J. Alston & Krister Andersson & Steven M. Smith, 2013. "Payment for Environmental Services: Hypotheses and Evidence," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 139-159, 06. citation courtesy of
|February 2011||Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Forest Protection: The Transaction Costs of REDD|
with Lee J. Alston: w16756
Understanding and minimizing the transaction costs of policy implementation are critical for reducing tropical forest losses. As the international community prepares to launch REDD+, a global initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from tropical deforestation, policymakers need to pay attention to the transactions costs associated with negotiating, monitoring and enforcing contracts between governments and donors. The existing institutional design for REDD+ relies heavily on central government interventions in program countries. Analyzing new data on forest conservation outcomes, we identify several problems with this centralized approach to forest protection. We describe options for a more diversified policy approach that could reduce the full set of transaction costs and thereby im...
Published: Alston, Lee J., and Krister Ander sson, “Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Forest Protection: The Transaction Costs of Implementing REDD,” Climate Law 3 (2011): 1‐9. Earlier version published as NBER Working Paper No. 16