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DIME Seminar Series: Can Community Based Forest Conservation Work? Insights From a Randomized Impact Evaluation in Aceh
June 2, 2015Speaker: Cyrus Samii in MC3-570 at 12:30 - 1:30PM

Abstract: Community based forest conservation programs aim to manage conservation and development tradeoffs in ways that empower forest-edge communities and are sensitive to their wellbeing.  We report the results of a randomized evaluation of the impact of the Community Rangers conservation program in Aceh, Indonesia.  The program hired youth from forest-edge communities to work as forest rangers, conduct conservation sensitization programs, and manage sustainable agriculture demonstration projects in their home villages.  We study social and conservation effects. Economic benefits were evident for rangers and the program diverted rangers from participating in illegal logging. But these benefits did not extend to the broader community. We found no effect on the social status of rangers in their communities. The program brought about more pro-conservation attitudes among household and village heads, although material effects on logging or poaching activities were weak, albeit beneficial as well.  However, we found robust evidence for a detrimental effect on illegal mining activity---an unintended “leakage.” The results provide insights on the limits of the community-based programs and on strategies for making them more effective.

Authors: Laura Paler, University of Pittsburgh, Cyrus Samii, New York University, Matthew Lisiecki, New York University

This seminar is organized jointly with Indonesia's Social Development Unit.

Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) is a global program hosted in the World Bank's Development Research Group. Its purpose is to increase the use of impact evaluation in the design and implementation of public policy and increase institutional capacity and motivation for evidence-based policy. 

Last Updated: May 21, 2015


Cyrus Samii is Assistant Professor with the Department of Politics, New York University.  He writes and teaches on quantitative social science methodology, with an emphasis on causal inference, and on substantive topics related to the political economy of political change, development, and governance, and the social, economic, and psychological causes of violent conflict. His work has appeared in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, and Survey Methodology.  He has designed and carried out field studies in Afghanistan, Burundi, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Indonesia, Israel, Liberia, and Nepal.   He holds a PhD from Columbia University and BA from Tufts University.

Last Updated: May 21, 2015

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