Conservation versus Equity: Can Payments for Environmental Services Achieve Both?

Miriam Vorlaufer, Marcela Ibanez, Bambang Juanda and Meike Wollni


Based on a framed field experiment, we investigate the trade-off between conservation and equity in the use of payments for environmental services (PES). We compare the effects of two PES schemes that implicitly incorporate different distributive justice principles: a flat-rate payment per biophysical unit conserved and a redistributive payment based on the Rawls maxi-min distributional principle. The main findings indicate that the introduction of a redistributive scheme can function as a multipurpose instrument. Under the assumed condition that participants with lower endowments face higher opportunity costs of conservation, it realigns the income distribution in favor of low-endowed participants without compromising conservation outcomes. (JEL Q15, Q57)

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