Friday, March 19, 2021 • 1 p.m.
Coral Reef Governance: Case Studies from Southeast Asia
Dr. Kelly Heber Dunning, Assistant Professor
The year 2020 marks a crucial deadline for signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the most important global agreement for biodiversity conservation, which requires nations to meet conservation targets. Managers and decision-makers need a better understanding of the policy systems established to meet conservation targets in order to inform post-2020 CBD policy implementation. I compare two policy systems for implementing marine protected areas (MPAs) which protect a threatened source of biodiversity, coral reefs. I compare a centralized policy system, with power emanating from ministries (Malaysia), with a decentralized policy system, with power concentrated in subnational government (Indonesia). I use the policy process literature to build on the already substantial interdisciplinary literature on MPAs, drawing novel insights on policy-makers and how they determine policy problems, shape policy options, and are influenced by political events. I find that the tropics-wide coral bleaching event in 2015-2016 fundamentally changed the way managers perceive the problems that biodiversity conservation policy solves. Managers are beginning to prioritize policy responses to climate stressors with the same urgency as historically important stressors like overfishing, implementing responses at starkly different power centers within policy systems. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), subnational governments, and the private sector are implementing innovative policy responses in the decentralized system, while the same actors in the centralized system face constraints because of its rigid policy framework. Understanding where starkly different power centers, and related dynamism, fall within policy systems allows for more effective reforms and investments for the next iteration of the CBD.
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Friday, May 7, 2021 • 1 p.m.
Harvesting the rain: The adoption of environmental technologies in the Sahel
Dr. Kelsey Jack, Associate Professor
UC Santa Barbara
We study the adoption of an environmental technology –
demi-lunes – in Niger. Like many environmental technologies, demi-lunes
require an upfront investment in exchange for medium-run benefits, which
agronomists estimate to be substantial. We implement a cluster
randomized control trial in 180 villages with treatments designed to
relax informational, credit and labor constraints. Relative to a pure
control, training increases the probability of adoption by 90 percentage
points. Combining training with either unconditional or conditional cash
transfers has no additional effect on the extensive margin of adoption,
but increases the intensity of adoption by 35-50 percent relative to
training alone. We also observe increases in agricultural output,
consistent with agronomic descriptions of the costs and benefits of
adoption, as well as other measures of household well-being. Over 90
percent of treatment households have operational demi-lunes two years
later. Using the pattern of results and our experimental design, we
investigate the mechanisms underlying our findings.