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Positive incentives for ecosystem services

Cranford, Matthew (2014) Positive incentives for ecosystem services. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

Use of payments for ecosystem services (PES) has grown around the world in recent years. Although there has been extensive discussion of how best to define PES and what is PES or ‘PES-like’, at the core of all definitions and all PES programmes is the delivery of a positive incentive to induce socially preferred environmental behaviour. Despite this, research on PES design has to date focused more on broader policy design than on incentive choice and design. In the developing world, PES are broadly perceived as a useful tool for environmental policy, but it is here that a continuing proliferation of programmes is occurring in many varied contexts. That has motivated a variety of approaches to be taken to PES, and prompted revisionists to call PES ‘incentives’, ‘rewards’, ‘compensation’, or something else besides ‘payments’. There are two primary academic objectives of this Ph.D. The first is to conceptualise PES as a broad category of positive incentives and explore the variation within that category. That is done through a) a conceptual review of PES; b) a review of empirical research on incentive design for PES; and c) an empirical study creating a typology of PES. The literature review also highlights a few key considerations for incentive design relevant to developing country contexts that have not yet been adequately addressed. The second objective of the Ph.D. is to contribute, albeit in a small way, to addressing those key considerations through three empirical studies. The contribution of this work to academic knowledge is twofold: 1) Through literature reviews and empirical methods, this paper offers an overarching synthesis of conceptualising and researching PES as incentives, and 2) it explores a few specific, novel ideas in incentive design to help adapt PES to the contexts in which it is applied.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Matthew Cranford
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Mourato, Susana
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/990

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