REDD+ program implementation, economic growth, and quality of government in 141 countries Open Access

Zhao, Helena (Spring 2019)

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REDD+ is a United Nations program designed to incentivize a reduction in carbon emissions via deforestation in developing countries with results-based payments. Success of REDD+ has proven to be a function of contextual variables such as economic growth, level of democracy, and population growth. This study determines the effect of economic, political, and demographic variables on likeliness of REDD+ implementation in 141 countries utilizing probit analysis. Results indicated that countries with greater terrestrial protected areas and forested lands, transitioning economies, greater democracy, political corruption, and human rights violations, and protection of property rights were more likely to implement REDD+. Alternatively, trade openness and rural population growth predicted for lower likelihood of REDD+ implementation. These results speak to past criticisms and shortcomings of REDD+ as well as how the implementation of REDD+ is affected by issues such as globalization and environmental attitudes worldwide. Taken together, the results of this study can inform how REDD+ policy can be adjusted and improved in order to appeal to more countries and see higher rates of success. 

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

REDD+ implementation3

REDD+ and political, economic, and demographic factors4

Literature Review6

Political factors & deforestation6

Population: density, growth & urbanization11

Economic factors & deforestation12

Data and Methodology15


Multicollinearity tests19

Probit model19


All countries24

Region-specific models: Asia, Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean26


Trade, rural population growth, and urbanization27

GDP per capita, the Environmental Kuznets Curve, and the goals of REDD+29

Forested area, terrestrial protected areas, and environmental attitudes31

Political corruption, human rights, and property security: criticisms of REDD+32

Level of democracy and political modernization perspective36

Agricultural sector, population density, and rural population growth37

Potential sources of error38

Conclusion and Further Recommendations39



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