IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Exploring the connections between participation in and benefits from payments for hydrological services programs in Veracruz State, Mexico


  • Jones, Kelly W.
  • Avila Foucat, Sophie
  • Pischke, Erin C.
  • Salcone, Jacob
  • Torrez, David
  • Selfa, Theresa
  • Halvorsen, Kathleen E.


Payments for hydrological services (PHS) programs are expected to confer tangible benefits to households. Impact evaluations of PHS programs, however, find few to no changes in material indicators. One reason for this may be that non-financial motivations and benefits—including environmental or social—influence participation and are important outcomes for households participating in PHS programs. In this paper we test this hypothesis using 56 interviews and 181 surveys from households in Veracruz State, Mexico. Using logistic regression models we find that human, natural, physical and financial capital are important to the decision to participate in PHS, but so are pro-social and pro-environmental motivations. Using counterfactual impact evaluation methods we find few changes in material benefits but do find that PHS participants are more likely to report positive changes in their household and community quality of life over the last five years compared to households not participating in PHS programs. Qualitative information supports these findings. Our results contribute to the evolving theory on PHS that participation is driven by a mix of financial and non-financial motivations and that non-material benefits are an important outcome of these programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Jones, Kelly W. & Avila Foucat, Sophie & Pischke, Erin C. & Salcone, Jacob & Torrez, David & Selfa, Theresa & Halvorsen, Kathleen E., 2019. "Exploring the connections between participation in and benefits from payments for hydrological services programs in Veracruz State, Mexico," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 32-42.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoser:v:35:y:2019:i:c:p:32-42
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2018.11.004

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Engel, Stefanie & Pagiola, Stefano & Wunder, Sven, 2008. "Designing payments for environmental services in theory and practice: An overview of the issues," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 663-674, May.
    2. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
    3. Wunder, Sven, 2015. "Revisiting the concept of payments for environmental services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 234-243.
    4. Alberto Abadie & David Drukker & Jane Leber Herr & Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Implementing matching estimators for average treatment effects in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 290-311, September.
    5. Grillos, Tara, 2017. "Economic vs non-material incentives for participation in an in-kind payments for ecosystem services program in Bolivia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 178-190.
    6. Zanella, Matheus A. & Schleyer, Christian & Speelman, Stijn, 2014. "Why do farmers join Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes? An Assessment of PES water scheme participation in Brazil," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 166-176.
    7. Hejnowicz, Adam P. & Raffaelli, David G. & Rudd, Murray A. & White, Piran C.L., 2014. "Evaluating the outcomes of payments for ecosystem services programmes using a capital asset framework," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 9(C), pages 83-97.
    8. Börner, Jan & Baylis, Kathy & Corbera, Esteve & Ezzine-de-Blas, Driss & Honey-Rosés, Jordi & Persson, U. Martin & Wunder, Sven, 2017. "The Effectiveness of Payments for Environmental Services," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 359-374.
    9. Liu, Zhaoyang & Kontoleon, Andreas, 2018. "Meta-Analysis of Livelihood Impacts of Payments for Environmental Services Programmes in Developing Countries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 48-61.
    10. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    11. Grima, Nelson & Singh, Simron J. & Smetschka, Barbara & Ringhofer, Lisa, 2016. "Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) in Latin America: Analysing the performance of 40 case studies," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 24-32.
    12. Seema Jayachandran, 2013. "Liquidity Constraints and Deforestation: The Limitations of Payments for Ecosystem Services," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 309-313, May.
    13. Jennifer M. Alix-Garcia & Katharine R. E. Sims & Patricia Yañez-Pagans, 2015. "Only One Tree from Each Seed? Environmental Effectiveness and Poverty Alleviation in Mexico's Payments for Ecosystem Services Program," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 1-40, November.
    14. Bremer, Leah L. & Auerbach, Dan A. & Goldstein, Joshua H. & Vogl, Adrian L. & Shemie, Daniel & Kroeger, Timm & Nelson, Joanna L. & Benítez, Silvia P. & Calvache, Alejandro & Guimarães, João & Herro, 2016. "One size does not fit all: Natural infrastructure investments within the Latin American Water Funds Partnership," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 217-236.
    15. Pagiola, Stefano & Arcenas, Agustin & Platais, Gunars, 2005. "Can Payments for Environmental Services Help Reduce Poverty? An Exploration of the Issues and the Evidence to Date from Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 237-253, February.
    16. Rasolofoson, Ranaivo A. & Nielsen, Martin R. & Jones, Julia P.G., 2018. "The potential of the Global Person Generated Index for evaluating the perceived impacts of conservation interventions on subjective well-being," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 107-118.
    17. Bottazzi, Patrick & Wiik, Emma & Crespo, David & Jones, Julia P.G., 2018. "Payment for Environmental “Self-Service”: Exploring the Links Between Farmers' Motivation and Additionality in a Conservation Incentive Programme in the Bolivian Andes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 11-23.
    18. Martin-Ortega, Julia & Ojea, Elena & Roux, Camille, 2013. "Payments for Water Ecosystem Services in Latin America: A literature review and conceptual model," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 6(C), pages 122-132.
    19. Blundo-Canto, Genowefa & Bax, Vincent & Quintero, Marcela & Cruz-Garcia, Gisella S. & Groeneveld, Rolf A. & Perez-Marulanda, Lisset, 2018. "The Different Dimensions of Livelihood Impacts of Payments for Environmental Services (PES) Schemes: A Systematic Review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 160-183.
    20. Jones, Kelly W. & Muñoz Brenes, Carlos L. & Shinbrot, Xoco A. & López-Báez, Walter & Rivera-Castañeda, Andrómeda, 2018. "The influence of cash and technical assistance on household-level outcomes in payments for hydrological services programs in Chiapas, Mexico," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 31(PA), pages 208-218.
    21. Hegde, Ravi & Bull, Gary Q., 2011. "Performance of an agro-forestry based Payments-for-Environmental-Services project in Mozambique: A household level analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 122-130.
    22. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, January.
    23. Zbinden, Simon & Lee, David R., 2005. "Paying for Environmental Services: An Analysis of Participation in Costa Rica's PSA Program," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 255-272, February.
    24. Uchida, Emi & Xu, Jintao & Xu, Zhigang & Rozelle, Scott, 2007. "Are the poor benefiting from China's land conservation program?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(4), pages 593-620, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecoser:v:35:y:2019:i:c:p:32-42. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Haili He). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.