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Motivational crowding in PES: experiment results

Cite this dataset

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


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