CEP/STICERD Applications Seminars
Money (Not) to Burn: Payments for Ecosystem Services to Reduce Crop Residue Burning
Seema Jayachandran (Princeton University), joint with B. Kelsey Jack, Namrata Kala, and Rohini Pande
Monday 22 May 2023 12:00 - 13:30
Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.
Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.
Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.
About this event
Particulate matter significantly reduces life expectancy in India. We use a randomized controlled trial in the Indian state of Punjab to evaluate the effectiveness of conditional cash transfers (also known as payments for ecosystem services, or PES) in reducing crop residue burning, which is a major contributor to the region?s poor air quality. Credit constraints and distrust may make farmers less likely to comply with standard PES contracts, which only pay the participant after verification of compliance. We randomize paying a portion of the money upfront and unconditionally. Despite receiving a lower reward for compliance, farmers offered partial upfront payment are 8-11 percentage points more likely to comply than are farmers offered the standard contract. Burning measures derived from satellite imagery indicate that PES with upfront payments significantly reduced burning, while standard PES payments were inframarginal. We also show that PES with an upfront component is a cost-effective way to improve India?s air quality.