Behavioral Spillovers from Mixing Conservation Policies in Neighboring Areas: An Experimental Analysis on Fairness Perceptions towards Unequal Policies
32 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2021
Date Written: August 24, 2021
Over the last decades, there has been a growing interest in evaluating the effectiveness of conservation programs, including the presence of unintended effects in areas not covered by a program, so called spillovers. For example, payments for ecosystem services (PES) can have spillover effects via both pecuniary and behavioral channels. While most of the literature on behavioral spillovers from PES focusses on those who receive payments, PES can also change the behavior of non-participants by affecting their fairness perceptions. In this study, we analyze whether PES implementation in one area can have behavioral spillover effects in a neighboring area due to fairness concerns about unequal policy conditions faced in the two areas. We use data from a lab-in-the-field experiment with 276 farmers in Colombia to compare the behavior of farmers who faced exactly the same policy (or absence of policy), but who in one case experienced a disadvantageous condition in relation to their neighbors receiving PES (treatment group) while in the other did not (control group). We find that PES exclusion and simultaneously implementing PES inside and outside of a protected area can have negative behavioral spillovers. Surprisingly, our findings show that the spillover effect does not increase with the level of inequality between neighbors. Implementing PES only in the buffer area of a protected area increases pro-environmental behavior in those within the protected area, even after the policies are removed. We propose that the internalization of the positive aspects of the protected area, due to the expectation of receiving future payments, is a possible explanation for the unexpected effect.
Keywords: Spillover, PES, protected areas, policy mixes, fairness, motivation crowding
JEL Classification: Q56, Q57, Q58
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation