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Motivational crowding in PES: experiment results


Lliso, Bosco (2021), Motivational crowding in PES: experiment results, Dryad, Dataset,


Nature is perceived and valued in many different ways. Often, the types of values that are the most important to people depend on how they cognitively frame desirable human-nature relations. For instance, the value of nature can be seen through a utilitarian lens, e.g., as providing ecosystem services for humans. Alternatively, it can also be considered valuable for non-instrumental reasons, e.g., for its sacred or spiritual significance.

In this paper, we use a framed field experiment to test how people belonging to three distinct communities in Colombia (Indigenous, Afro-Colombian, and Campesino) respond to different ways of framing payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes, so as to assess potential motivational crowding effects of pro-social/intrinsic motivations for forest conservation.

The experimental results indicate that crowding-in of intrinsic motivations for forest conservation occurred in participants from the Indigenous community when the PES scheme was framed in a way that highlighted relational values of the forest.

By contrast, motivational crowding-in took place for participants in the framed field experiment from the Campesino community when the PES scheme was introduced in a way that highlighted instrumental values instead.

Participants from the Afro-Colombian community did not show evidence of motivational crowding under either framing.

Together, these results suggest that PES schemes that are framed in a way that harmonizes with locally salient human-nature relational models and associated values are more likely to cause motivational crowding-in, and thus encourage higher rates of environmental conservation, even after payments are discontinued.


Data represents the results of a framed field experiment which simulated conservation decisions before, during, and after the implementation of a PES program. 

Data additionally includes the responses from the survey that was implemented following the framed field experiment.


Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

María de Maeztu excellence accreditation 2018-2022, Award: MDM-2017-0714