Dr. Johanna Choumert Nkolo

By Dr. Johanna Choumert-Nkolo

I have recently returned from the 3rd Annual FAERE (French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists) Conference, held in Bordeaux between the 8th and 9th of September 2016. The conference was organized this year by GREThA (Groupe de Recherche en Économie Théorique et Appliquée) and Irstea (Institut national de rechercheen sciences et technologies pour l’environnement et l’agriculture).[1]

FAERE was created in 2013 and is open to all researchers without restrictions on nationality or language. Since then, FAERE has been an extremely dynamic organisation, hosting various workshops and contributing many working and policy papers to the literature.

The programme of this 3rdAnnual Conference is a testament to the quality and dynamism of Environmental Economics in France.  The scientific programme covered topics such as Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity, Energy Economics, Growth Models, Game Theory, Land-Use Management and Spatial Issues, Pollution Policy and Trade, Adaptation to Climate Change, Resource Economics, Risk and Vulnerability, and Non-Market Valuation.

Before giving a brief overview of papers specifically addressing environmental and natural resources issues in developing countries, I should first discuss the keynote speech given by Prof. Ian Bateman, Director of the Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP) at the University of Exeter. His speech, entitled “Spatial Optimization of Integrated Value Functions: Bringing Ecosystem Services Into Economic Decision-Making for Land Use”, focused on climate change, land-use changes, agriculture, water quality and ecosystem services in the UK. He also presented ORVal – an online Outdoor Recreation Valuation tool, developed by the LEEP and funded by the UK Department For Environment Food & Rural Affairs. This practical tool was designed to help decision makers at all levels move forward in accounting for the value of nature.

Some of the research outputs on environment and natural resources in developing and emerging economies given at the conference include (this list is not by no means exhaustive and does not mention papers on developed countries)[2]:

  • There can be complementarity between the provision of timber and carbon sequestration in Vietnam.
  • To assess the effectiveness of protected areas on deforestation, like in Brazil, location and contextual biases must be taken into account.
  • There exist strong relations between weather fluctuations, mortality and income inequality in Mexico.
  • Households report an important willingness-to-pay to get individual water connection in Central Tunisia.
  • In developing countries, climate change and climate shocks have reduced food availability in affected countries and their main trading partners.
  • Farmers in Burkina Faso insure against risk according to the drought frequency, following an inverted U curve.
  • In Uganda, more land fragmentation decreases losses in crop yields when farmers face rain shocks.

Finally the Young Economist best paper FAERE Award was attributed to Sébastien Desbureaux (CERDI and CIRAD) for his paper “Common Resources Management and the “Dark Side” of Collective Action: an Impact Evaluation for Madagascar’s Forests”.  Looking at the situation in Madagascar, he challenges the idea that collective action favours the sustainable use of Common Property Resources. He used both diverse and original data sets in his work: (i) fine scale deforestation data over 15 years (ii) socio-economic census data (iii) 1st hand survey data (iv) 2 lab in the field games.

September is a busy month for EDI in terms of conferences. More blog posts will follow shortly on what we learned at the 9th International Conference on Social Science Methodology (11-16 September, Leicester) and the What Works Global Summit (26-28 September, London).


Senior Research Manager at EDI

Member of the Editorial Board of the FAERE

[1] The official language of the Conference is English.

[2] I presented “Addressing contextual and location biases in the assessment of Protected Areas effectiveness on deforestation in the Brazilian”co-written with Eric Kéré (African Development Bank), Pascale Combes(CERDI), Jean-Louis Combes (CERDI), Olivier Santoni (CERDI), Sonia Schwartz (CERDI). My co-author Pascale Phelinas (IRD / CERDI) presented our paper “Farmland rental values in GM soybean areas of Argentina: do contractual arrangements matter?”