Collective PES: More than the sum of individual incentives
Hayes, Tanya, Tara Grillos, Leah L. Bremer, Felipe Nurtinho, and Elizabeth Shapiro
Environmental Science and Policy 102:1–8, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2019.09.010 (2019)
This study synthesizes findings from studies of the social and behavioral outcomes of collective payment for ecosystem services (PES) programs. The collective PES model is distinct from the conventional PES model in that by working with groups, not individuals, it breaks the direct relationship between an individual’s consent to participate, the economic incentive and the expected conservation behavior. In doing so, it raises concerns about whether the collective model is effective and socially just. Here, we assess these concerns by synthesizing findings on four distinct challenges for collective PES: (i) voluntary and informed participation; (ii) household compliance with PES restrictions; (iii) the balance of costs and benefits across community members; and (iv) the interaction with local governance conditions to address the second-order collective action problem inherent in collective PES. Through a review of 41 studies covering 16 collective PES programs located in 12 countries, we find that collective PES can change behavior and provide socioeconomic and ecological benefits, but institutional context matters. Our review points to how program design and local governance dynamics can influence the ability of collective PES to attain desired social and behavioral outcomes.