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The Ecological Footprint of Poverty Alleviation: Evidence from Mexico's Oportunidades Program

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  • Alix-Garcia, Jennifer M.

    (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

  • McIntosh, Craig

    (University of California, San Diego)

  • Sims, Katharine R. E.

    (Amherst College)

  • Welch, Jarrod R.

    (University of California, San Diego)

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    Abstract

    We study the consequences of poverty alleviation programs for environmental degradation. We exploit the community-level eligibility discontinuity for a conditional cash transfer program in Mexico to identify the impacts of income increases on deforestation, and use the program’s initial randomized rollout to explore household responses. We find that additional income increases demand for resource-intensive goods. The corresponding production response and deforestation increase is more detectable in communities with poor road infrastructure. These results are consistent with the idea that better access to markets disperses environmental harm and the full effects of treatment can only be observed where poor infrastructure localizes them.

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    File URL: http://www.aae.wisc.edu/pubs/sps/pdf/stpap549.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics in its series Staff Paper Series with number 549.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:ecl:wisagr:549

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    2. Keller, Wolfgang & Shiue, Carol Hua, 2008. "Tariffs, Trains, and Trade: The Role of Institutions versus Technology in the Expansion of Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 6759, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. William Harbaugh & Arik Levinson & David Wilson, 2000. "Reexamining the Empirical Evidence for an Environmental Kuznets Curve," Working Papers gueconwpa~00-00-07, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
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    13. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
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    15. Angus Deaton, 2009. "Instruments of development: Randomization in the tropics, and the search for the elusive keys to economic development," Working Papers 1128, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
    16. Susmita Dasgupta & Benoit Laplante & Hua Wang & David Wheeler, 2002. "Confronting the Environmental Kuznets Curve," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 147-168, Winter.
    17. Andrew D. Foster & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2003. "Economic Growth And The Rise Of Forests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 601-637, May.
    18. Panayotou, Theodore, 1997. "Demystifying the environmental Kuznets curve: turning a black box into a policy tool," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(04), pages 465-484, November.
    19. Barham, Tania, 2011. "A healthier start: The effect of conditional cash transfers on neonatal and infant mortality in rural Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 74-85, January.
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