Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Persistent Neoliberalisation in PES: Taxes, Tariffs, and the World Bank in Costa Rica
Authors: Matulis, Brett S.
First Published: 2016
Publisher: Medknow Publications
Citation: Conservation and Society, 2017, in press
Abstract: Recent critiques of 'payments for ecosystem services' (PES) and other market-based instruments for environmental conservation have noted that such mechanisms rarely (if ever) operate according to idealised market rules. The characterisation of PES as a form of 'neoliberal conservation', therefore, has been questioned and even deemed to be misguided. While close examination of local context and micropolitics often reveals a nuanced view of contested and hybrid implementation, similar analysis can also reveal the way that officials continue to steer programs towards market ideals. In this paper, I consider the case of Costa Rica's national Pagos por Servicios Ambientales (PSA) program, to suggest that–in spite of its imperfect correspondence to an idealised neoliberal model–it is undergoing a continual process of neoliberalisation. I explore, in particular, the evolution of PSA financing, which has shifted (under the influence of two World Bank projects) towards direct financialised transactions between 'users' and 'providers' of ecosystem services. The paper provides a historical account of the complex (and sometimes contradictory) processes that have produced the program's current hybrid neoliberal form. It explores World Bank / Costa Rica relations and market-oriented interventions to the financing of ecosystem service payments, and it explains that (despite inherent contradictions inhibiting market formation) neoliberal actors within the state can still implement mechanisms designed to approximate markets.
DOI Link: 10.4103/0972-4923.204073
ISSN: 0972-4923
eISSN: 0975-3133
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2016. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited, and that any contributions are distributed under the same license as the original.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Geology

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
MATULIS_2016a.pdfPost-review (final submitted)351.18 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in LRA are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.