This paper investigates the trade-off between conservation and equity considerations in the use of payments for environmental services (PES) that implicitly incorporate different distributive justice principles. Using a public good experiment with heterogeneous participants, we compare the effects on additional area conserved and distribution of earnings of two PES schemes: an equal payment and a payment based on Rawls distributional principle, which we refer to as maxi-min payment scheme. The main findings of the framed field experiment conducted in Jambi province (Indonesia) indicate that the introduction of a maxi-min PES scheme can function as a multi-purpose instrument. It realigns the income distribution in favor of low-endowed participants and does not necessarily need to be compromised by lower environmental additionality at the group level.
Payments for Environmental Services efficiency equity trade-off public good experiment endowment heterogeneity productivity heterogeneity