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

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Listed:
  • Jennifer Alix-Garcia

    (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

  • Craig McIntosh

    (University of California, San Diego)

  • Katharine R. E. Sims

    (Amherst College)

  • Jarrod R. Welch

    (University of California, San Diego)

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 raises consumption of land-intensive goods and increases deforestation. The observed production response and deforestation increase are larger in communities with poor road infrastructure. This suggests that better access to markets disperses environmental harm and that the full effects of poverty alleviation on the environment can be observed only where poor infrastructure localizes them. © 2013 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer Alix-Garcia & Craig McIntosh & Katharine R. E. Sims & Jarrod R. Welch, 2013. "The Ecological Footprint of Poverty Alleviation: Evidence from Mexico's Oportunidades Program," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 417-435, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:95:y:2013:i:2:p:417-435
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    Cited by:

    1. L'Roe, Jessica & Naughton-Treves, Lisa, 2017. "Forest edges in western Uganda: From refuge for the poor to zone of investment," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 102-111.
    2. Chakravarty, Shourish & Mullally, Conner C., 2020. "Impacts of anti-poverty programs on land use change – the case of NREGS in India," 2020 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, Kansas City, Missouri 304640, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Andersen, Lykke E. & Groom, Ben & Killick, Evan & Ledezma, Juan Carlos & Palmer, Charles & Weinhold, Diana, 2017. "Modelling Land Use, Deforestation, and Policy: A Hybrid Optimisation-Heterogeneous Agent Model with Application to the Bolivian Amazon," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 76-90.
    4. Seema Jayachandran & Joost de Laat & Eric F. Lambin & Charlotte Y. Stanton, 2016. "Cash for Carbon: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Payments for Ecosystem Services to Reduce Deforestation," NBER Working Papers 22378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Gwenolé Le Velly & Céline Dutilly, 2016. "Evaluating Payments for Environmental Services: Methodological Challenges," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 11(2), pages 1-20, February.
    6. Sims, Katharine R.E. & Alix-Garcia, Jennifer M., 2017. "Parks versus PES: Evaluating direct and incentive-based land conservation in Mexico," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 8-28.
    7. Kate Ambler & Alan de Brauw & Susan Godlonton, 2018. "Rural Labor Market Responses to Large Lumpy Cash Transfers: Evidence from Malawi," Department of Economics Working Papers 2018-11, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    8. Justin Whetten & Matías Fontenla & Kira Villa, 2019. "Opportunities for higher education: the ten-year effects of conditional cash transfers on upper-secondary and tertiary enrollments," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 222-237, April.
    9. Moshiri, Saeed & Martinez Santillan, Miguel Alfonso, 2018. "The welfare effects of energy price changes due to energy market reform in Mexico," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 663-672.
    10. Malerba, Daniele, 2020. "Poverty alleviation and local environmental degradation: An empirical analysis in Colombia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
    11. Abman, Ryan & Carney, Conor, 2020. "Agricultural productivity and deforestation: Evidence from input subsidies and ethnic favoritism in Malawi," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 103(C).
    12. Independent Evaluation Group, 2014. "Social Safety Nets and Gender : Learning from Impact Evaluations and World Bank Projects," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 21365, June.
    13. Robyn Meeks & Katharine R. E. Sims & Hope Thompson, 2019. "Waste Not: Can Household Biogas Deliver Sustainable Development?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 72(3), pages 763-794, March.
    14. Abman, Ryan & Carney, Conor, 2020. "Land rights, agricultural productivity, and deforestation," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 94(C).
    15. Jean-Marie Baland & François Libois & Dilip Mookherjee, 2018. "Forest Degradation and Economic Growth in Nepal, 2003–2010," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(2), pages 401-439.
    16. Chakravarty, Shourish & Mullally, Conner C., 2018. "Impact of NREGS on Forest Cover," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274250, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    17. Sarah Baird & Aislinn Bohren & Craig McIntosh & Berk Ozler, 2017. "Optimal Design of Experiments in the Presence of Interference*, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 16-025, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 30 Nov 2017.
    18. López-Feldman, Alejandro & Chávez, Estefanía, 2017. "Remittances and Natural Resource Extraction: Evidence from Mexico," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 69-79.
    19. Junming Zhu, 2020. "Suggested use? On evidence‐based decision‐making in industrial ecology and beyond," Journal of Industrial Ecology, Yale University, vol. 24(5), pages 943-950, October.
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    21. Man Li & Alessandro Pinto & John M. Ulimwengu & Liangzhi You & Richard D. Robertson, 2015. "Impacts of Road Expansion on Deforestation and Biological Carbon Loss in the Democratic Republic of Congo," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 60(3), pages 433-469, March.
    22. Pfutze, Tobias, 2019. "Should program graduation be better targeted? The other schooling outcomes of Mexico’s Oportunidades," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 1-1.
    23. Michael Greenstone & B. Kelsey Jack, 2013. "Envirodevonomics: A Research Agenda for a Young Field," NBER Working Papers 19426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    environmental regulation; environment and development; poverty; land-use; deforestation;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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