Paying Farmers Not to Burn: A Randomized Trial of Payments for Ecosystem Services in India

Last registered on December 21, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Paying Farmers Not to Burn: A Randomized Trial of Payments for Ecosystem Services in India
Initial registration date
September 28, 2019

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
September 30, 2019, 1:33 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
December 21, 2022, 9:48 PM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

Northwestern University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of California, Santa Barbara
PI Affiliation
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PI Affiliation
Yale University

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
This study evaluates a Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) intervention that offers financial rewards for reducing burning of crop residue or 'stubble' among paddy farmers in Punjab, India. In addition to evaluating a standard PES contract, we will compare it to a contract that offers some of the payment upfront (without attempts to recoup it if the farmer does not meet the conditions). Adding this (de facto) unconditional component could increase overall cost-effectiveness if it increases compliance with the conditions, for example by easing liquidity constraints or by increasing participants' trust that the conditional payment will indeed be paid. PES with an upfront component might instead decrease cost-effectiveness because people who do not meet the conditions will receive some payment. The main outcome is whether the farmer burned his or her fields. Other outcomes are enrollment in the program, child respiratory health, and use of agricultural equipment and other inputs.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Jack, Kelsey et al. 2022. "Paying Farmers Not to Burn: A Randomized Trial of Payments for Ecosystem Services in India." AEA RCT Registry. December 21.
Sponsors & Partners

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information
Experimental Details


There are 2 main treatments and one control group:

T1: Control group: No interventions

T2: Standard PES: Farmers will be offered a PES contract that pays them a cash transfer conditional on not burning their fields. This treatment is further divided into two sub-treatments: T2a pays 800 Rs/acre; T2b pays 1600 Rs/acre.

T3: PES with part of payment upfront: Farmers will be offered a PES contract, and if they accept the contract, they will receive either 25% (T3a) or 50% (T3b) of the PES payment from T2a (800 Rs/acre) as an unconditional cash transfer, and the remainder as a conditional payment, i.e. the conditional PES payment once it has been confirmed that their fields have not been burned.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
crop burning
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Measured via remote sensing

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
enrollment in the PES program, child respiratory health, use of "crop residue management" equipment and other inputs, agricultural outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
A baseline survey and GIS measurement of paddy fields will take place prior to the paddy harvest season. Then the interventions (described in Interventions section) will be rolled out. For farmers offered the PES program who enroll, in-person monitoring will be used to verify they did not burn their fields. If the field monitor sees no evidence of burning, participants will receive their conditional payments, if applicable. Then an endline survey will be conducted.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
By computer in office
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
171 villages
Sample size: planned number of observations
~1700 farmers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
T1: 51 villages
T2: 58 villages
T3: 62 villages
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Northwestern University IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
Institute for Financial Management and Research IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents


MD5: d2a1a4e255373b9bcd25ea6887c85726

SHA1: d31b613bfb6f8f3295f45d1009b1f729040e6bc9

Uploaded At: October 27, 2019


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials