Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 05/2014

What Drives Deforestation and What Stops It? A Meta-Analysis of Spatially Explicit Econometric Studies

Kalifi Ferretti-Gallon, Jonah Busch

April 2014

Center for Global Development


Forests provide a wealth of public services and private goods, yet forested land is being steadily converted to other uses, including cropland, pasture, mining, and urban areas, which can generate greater private economic returns. Public concern over the benefits of forests lost due to deforestation has led to a variety of deliberate policies intended to slow the rate of deforestation. These efforts benefit from research to understand what factors drive deforestation and what policies can effectively stop it. This question is especially well suited to spatially explicit econometric analysis. The number of spatially explicit econometric studies of deforestation has grown rapidly since the publication of the first such study in a peer-reviewed journal in 1996. Here we have compiled a comprehensive database of all 117 spatially explicit econometric studies of deforestation published in peer-reviewed academic journals from 1996-2013. We present a meta-analysis based on the signs and significances of 5909 coefficients in 554 multivariate analyses.