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Testing participation constraints in contract design for sustainable soil conservation in Ethiopia


  • Tesfaye, Abonesh
  • Brouwer, Roy


This paper focuses on contract design to improve the incentive structure of current coordination mechanisms related to sustainable land use management in the Ethiopian highlands. The main objective is to assess whether, and if so under which terms and conditions, rural households are willing to enter into contractual agreements to invest in soil conservation measures on their land. Participation constraints are tested under different soil erosion and institutional-economic conditions in a choice experiment targeting 750 rural households. We show that contracts provided by local government peasant associations offering additional credit, land use security and extension services could be an effective means to increase the share of farmers implementing soil conservation measures. However, trust in contract terms and conditions appears to play an important role. Farmers living in the most erosion prone areas are most likely to participate, while farmers taking soil conservation measures already are less likely to enter into a contractual agreement with the local government. Farmers not taking soil conservation measures will only do so if the contract price is lower than or equal to the income losses suffered from soil erosion.

Suggested Citation

  • Tesfaye, Abonesh & Brouwer, Roy, 2012. "Testing participation constraints in contract design for sustainable soil conservation in Ethiopia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 168-178.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:73:y:2012:i:c:p:168-178
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.10.017

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Santos, Rui & Clemente, Pedro & Brouwer, Roy & Antunes, Paula & Pinto, Rute, 2015. "Landowner preferences for agri-environmental agreements to conserve the montado ecosystem in Portugal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 159-167.
    2. repec:eee:resene:v:50:y:2017:i:c:p:91-104 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Sophie Clot & Charlotte Stanton, 2014. "Present Bias in Payments for Ecosystem Services: Insights from a Behavioural Experiment in Uganda," Working Papers 14-03, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Jan 2014.
    4. Salvatore Di Falco & Marcella Veronesi, 2013. "How Can African Agriculture Adapt to Climate Change? A Counterfactual Analysis from Ethiopia," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 89(4), pages 743-766.
    5. Brouwer, Roy & Lienhoop, Nele & Oosterhuis, Frans, 2015. "Incentivizing afforestation agreements: Institutional-economic conditions and motivational drivers," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 205-222.
    6. Zandersen, Marianne & Jørgensen, Sisse Liv & Nainggolan, Doan & Gyldenkærne, Steen & Winding, Anne & Greve, Mogens Humlekrog & Termansen, Mette, 2016. "Potential and economic efficiency of using reduced tillage to mitigate climate effects in Danish agriculture," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 14-22.
    7. Abebe, Gumataw K. & Bijman, Jos & Kemp, Ron & Omta, Onno & Tsegaye, Admasu, 2013. "Contract farming configuration: Smallholders’ preferences for contract design attributes," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 14-24.
    8. Clot, Sophie & Stanton, Charlotte Y., 2014. "Present bias predicts participation in payments for environmental services: Evidence from a behavioral experiment in Uganda," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 162-170.


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