Event Detail

Aid Against Trees? Evidence from a Community-Driven Development Program in the Philippines

Presented by:
Jeff Pagel
Department of Economics
University of Barcelona

Wednesday, February 17, 2021
On-line via Zoom
12:00 pm-1:15 pm

Community-driven development (CDD) programs are becoming integral components in the development portfolios of major international development agencies, and are further being positioned as a parallel strategy to the sustainable development goals relating to climate change mitigation and adaptation. As this dual positioning occurs, little is known about the environmental effects stemming from such programs, especially in terms of de- forestation. Using satellite-generated forest coverage data, this paper aims to address this gap in the literature by examining the impact of CDD programs on deforestation. More specifically, I apply a regression discontinuity design (RDD) and a randomized control trial (RCT) to a large-scale CDD program over two different time periods in the Philip- pines. Eligible municipalities in the RDD period experienced an average of 236 percent more deforestation and treated municipalities in the RCT period experienced an average of 265 percent more deforestation than the control. I then explore heterogeneous effects on a detailed dataset of the sub-projects to show that the greatest impact on deforestation arose from infrastructure sub-projects, which include trails, bridges and roads, followed by support, education and health facility sub-projects. As international development agencies continue to invest heavily in CDD programs, more focus should be placed on the sustainability of such programs and on how CDD programs can be more in line with forest conservation policy.

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