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Fight fire with finance: a randomize field experiment to curtail land-clearing fire in Indonesia

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American Economic Association Registry

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This paper presents one of the rst randomized evaluations of collective pay-for-performance payments for ecosystem services. We test whether community-level scal incentives can curtail the use of land-clearing re, a major source of emissions and negative health externalities. The program was implemented over the 2018 re season in Indonesia with three parts: (a) awareness raising and training on re prevention, (b) a small capital grant to mobilize re ghting resources, and (c) the promise of a large conditional cash transfer at the end of the year if the village does not have re, which we monitor by satellite. While program villages increase re prevention eorts, we nd no evidence of any large or statistically signicant dierences in re outcomes. Our results appear to be driven by a combination of the payment not being large enough and a failure of collective action, and oer a cautionary tale on the importance of measuring additionality when evaluating payments for environmental services and other conservation programs.

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