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

  • 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)

Registered author(s):

    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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    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
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ecl:wisagr:549
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    3. Angus Deaton, 2009. "Instruments of development: Randomization in the tropics, and the search for the elusive keys to economic development," Working Papers 1122, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
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    6. 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.
    7. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
    8. Barbier, Edward B. & Burgess, J.C., 1996. "Economic analysis of deforestation in Mexico," MPRA Paper 12089, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2002. "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," NBER Working Papers 8918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    12. White, Thomas, 2000. "Diet and the distribution of environmental impact," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 145-153, July.
    13. Grossman, Gene M & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Economic Growth and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 353-77, May.
    14. Kaimowitz, David, 1995. "Livestock and deforestation in Central America in the 1980s and 1990s: a policy perspective," EPTD discussion papers 9, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    15. Paul J. Gertler & Sebastian W. Martinez & Marta Rubio-Codina, 2012. "Investing Cash Transfers to Raise Long-Term Living Standards," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 164-92, January.
    16. Deininger, Klaus W & Minten, Bart, 1999. "Poverty, Policies, and Deforestation: The Case of Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(2), pages 313-44, January.
    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. 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.
    19. Zwane, Alix Peterson, 2007. "Does poverty constrain deforestation? Econometric evidence from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 330-349, September.
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