DCID-affiliated professor Subhrendu Pattanayak and his co-author Jie-Sheng Tan-Soo (National University of Singapore) have published their recent research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
“Seeking natural capital projects: Forest fires, haze, and early-life exposure in Indonesia” examines tropical forest burning and the effects of the resulting air pollution on health and income outcomes for children exposed to the pollution in the womb. The authors conduct cost-benefit analyses for various methods of clearing forests for palm oil production in the country, and recommend policy changes that would better protect people and the environment.
On Twitter this morning, Pattanayak summed up the importance of the study to future development policy:
“This is one of the first studies of the lagged impacts of early-life exposures to air pollution, using data from Indonesia, a middle-income country critical to global conservation. Analyses of planetary health policies—which are multisectoral and interdisciplinary in nature—require methodologically flexible approaches; so we first estimate the haze-height effect by applying rigorous quasi-experimental methods on a multisectoral dataset. Next, we use these impact estimates in a CBA of various policy solutions to the haze problem. Specifically, we use Monte Carlo simulations to account for the heterogeneity and uncertainty associated with the many costs and benefits. This combination of estimation and simulation illustrates an applied research framework (e.g., @NatCapProject ) that can be used to mainstream conservation science into the decision making by communities, companies, governments, and donors. Following calls from implementation science research, we attempt to provide approximate, if imperfect, practical advice that policy makers seek, instead of stopping at precise (and sometimes irrelevant) estimates. Because social NPV of fire suppression, fire bans depend on factors that vary by location (e.g., emissions attributed to oil palm, local income growth), targeting will be efficient; findings provide strong justification for ongoing Indonesian government policies.”
See the full thread and follow Subhrendu Pattanayak on Twitter @subhrendukp
RELATED: Watch Pattanayak in this video from the National Academy of Sciences: