Encouraging Conservation on Private Lands: A Behavioral Analysis of Financial Incentives
Stephanie M. Stern
Chicago-Kent College of Law
Arizona Law Review, Vol. 48, 2006
This Article offers a behavioral analysis of conservation incentives on private land. Contrary to the hyperbole surrounding landowner incentives, financial rewards typically produce moderate, not dramatic, levels of behavioral change and are not immune from the problems of cost, monitoring, and enforcement that affect command and control regulation. Drawing from the behavioral research, I offer proposals for improving the efficacy of conservation incentives and reducing their enforcement costs. First, staggering payments in installments provides ongoing reinforcement and promotes longer-term maintenance of conservation behaviors. Despite research showing that behavior ends upon termination of an incentive, a number of conservation incentive programs offer all or most of their compensation upfront. Second, reducing excessive payments and emphasizing positive feedback safeguards intrinsic motivation. Third, increasing the resources devoted to recruitment and the sophistication of marketing strategies amplifies the effectiveness of incentives.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: Conservation Incentive Programs, Private Property, Command and Control Regulation
JEL Classification: K11, K32Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 12, 2010
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