In this interview, World Bank environmental economist Stefano Pagiola discusses his role in the development of payment for environmental services (PES) programs in Costa Rica and Mexico. He begins by discussing the World Bank's role in improving payment and service targeting in Mexican and Costa Rican PES programs based on environmental/biodiversity and cost-effectiveness economic analyses. He then describes technical challenges faced in the implementation of Costa Rica's PES program, and similar challenges due to up-scaling the program for Mexico. Next, Pagiola outlines the political challenges PES faced in both countries and how the programs were re-shaped to better attract political support. Finally, he discusses difficulties in formulating an impact evaluation for these PES programs, and how they have been received in implementing countries in Latin America.
At the time of this interview, Stefano Pagiola was a Senior Environmental Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean at the World Bank. Since the 1990s, he has worked as a consultant on a variety of World Bank-funded projects in environmental economics across the region, including as an advisor on the Payments for Environmental Services programs pioneered in Costa Rica and Mexico. He has also worked on a number of other environmental economics projects ranging from market-based conservation solutions to economic valuations of ecosystem services. He holds a BA from Princeton, and an MA and PhD from Stanford.